The Mall

“Are you all right, Sally?”

“Yeah, Jane. I’m still shaking though.”

“Me too. I think we should just sit here in the car awhile, until we recover a little, y’know.”

“Yeah, sounds good. I feel just awful. Margaret told me it would be like that. She did it last year. She said, she was so traumatized she could barely get out of bed for a week.”

“You should call your daughter, Sally. Tell her you’ll need help when you get home. I’m calling my sister, Megan.”

“Hi, Chenoa, it’s Mom. I’m with Jane, calling from the parking lot at the mall.”

“Mom, you didn’t….”

“We did. I had to try, just one more time, to see if there was any chance….” [expand]

“Mom, every couple years we go through this, you cannot try on bathing suits anymore unless you have enough Valium with you to put down a horse!”

“Oh baby, it was awful. If you had seen what I saw in those horrible mirrors—the lumps, the bumps, all the new moles and rolls. I almost passed out.”

“Well, I’m glad you got out of there before things got any worse. Remember last year, the store had to call the paramedics to give you oxygen?”

“Mom, there’s no sexy bathing suits for big women or women over 40, and you’re both. If you have to have a suit, lets call a construction engineering group and see what they can design with the structural support of the Brooklyn bridge, and still cover with a designer spandex fabric.”

You’re a cruel child, accurate, but cruel. Can’t you lie to me like you used to when you were younger? Can’t you tell me we just have to keep looking until we find the right store…can’t you give an old woman a glimmer of hope—a tiny beam of light to penetrate the darkness of youth lost?”

“Ok…it must have been bad lighting in the dressing room, or maybe it’s because things made in China are smaller than American sizes, or maybe it was miss-tagged. You know, they don’t make shape-wear swimsuits like they used to. Maybe you can go out to Montauk and spear yourself a great white…if you stretch it like they did in the ‘40s sharkskin makes a size 18 into an 8. It’s not that you’ve gotten fat, you’ve just grown into a more womanly body…and those aren’t moles, they’re beauty marks like Marilyn Monroe’s…only…everywhere…(shudders). I’m sure if you sprawl your body out in some awkward way on the beach you could tuck your rolls under you and stretch the wrinkles and cellulite out of your visible skin. You might see some people give you weird looks but they’d be wondering if you need paramedics not lipo. Feeling any better yet?”

“Not particularly…thanks for trying, but I’d still like a suit that fits and provides enough modesty to avoid criminal charges.”

“Oh…well that’s easy.”

“Easy?”

“Yeah, just go check out some designer shower curtains at Bed, Bath & Beyond.” [/expand]

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