A story from my eldest….

I love this story that my 19-year-old wrote and I thought you might enjoy it too.


November morning. I check the temperature online and dress appropriately. Jeans, t-shirt and sweater. Sensibly stout walking boots. Wool coat, scarf, gloves, and warm (albeit tan and ugly) hat. I enter the elevator, confident in my preparations to face the bitter 36 degrees. Two floors down, I am rattled. The doors open and admit a portent of April. I give her a slightly pained version of the typical, “morning is rotten and I don’t know you, but hi” look Then, wishing for chameleon skin, I lean into the corner and surreptitiously survey the new passenger.

She is about 5’5″ with her shoes, tiny, immaculately dressed and perfectly accessorized. Light blouse, flowy floral skirt and matching purse. Shoulder length blonde curls. Chunky wood bead necklace. I idly wonder if it is the sort of necklace that would scatter all over if the string were cut. Worried at this thought, I cram my hands into my pockets and avoid the temptation to find out.

And her shoes. Strappy and delicate, they frame every smoothly painted toenail. Four inch heels, perfectly, cleverly designed to fling an inattentive wearer (me) to the ground. Tiny little ankle-breakers with narrow, rhinestone studded straps and a remarkably painful looking series of criss-crossing. They’re adorable.

I refrain from asking her if the fairies don’t want their clothes back, as that would be snarky and I am a model citizen. Rather, I trawl about for a light comment that will not reveal my growing unease with my own attire. All I can come up with are thoughts on her clothing, the impending ice age, or her very slim ankles. These are discarded rapidly. The first because of the “reciprocal compliment” idea, namely, they get a compliment and want to return one. I have nothing to compliment and would have to submit to her scrutiny while she determined that for herself. The second would make her clothing seem ill-chosen. The third is just altogether wrong. No appropriate comment is found and I hold my peace.

We finally reach ground floor. I watch the lady float outside, half expecting an pumpkin-esque coach and four to sweep up and take her away. I clump outside and comfort myself with the knowledge that my shoes are not on assassins mission and I will not freeze on contact with the outdoor air. I don’t begrudge her seemingly innate ability to be cute. I resolve, however, to buy a new hat.

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  1. Such a wonderful exploration of the unsaid things that go on in our heads! I learn more about the observer than the observed.

  2. I stumble over to Owlhave dressed in the ratty t-shirt I slept in, only to discover her oldest daughter has inherited her visible gift for writing and written a piece on fashion envy that I wish I had written. This may or may not be connected to the fact that the last thing I wrote involved toilet fungus.

  3. You must be proud. Writing skill seems to be genetic, eh?

  4. Very well written. Intense. Makes me want to double-check my outfit before leaving the house today!

  5. Well done! She really has a talent for writing Mary. Thanks to you and her for sharing her story. Bravo!

  6. That was so great! I can remember seeing girls like that at college….30 degrees or less outside and they are dressed for fashion, not sensibility. I was always bundled up tight…fashion or no. But I never got sick either! 🙂

    Good job Oldest Daughter!!

  7. Wow, that was /really/ well written. I was completely drawn in, even though, as a guy, I’m really not so in-tune with ankle assassins. The best I can muster is, “How on earth do people walk in those things?”

  8. Living in a cold place, I’ve battled many times in my head on whether or not to look nice, or to feel comfortable. The older I get, the more the “feel comfortable” side is winning. Sometimes it’s just too cold to try to dress cute.

  9. Oh, such beautiful descriptive writing! Some folks can really tell a story well.
    I can so relate to the comfy vs. cute dilemma. Myself, I also go with staying warm attire.

    It reminds me of a scene in the youth novel _A River Between Us_ by Richard Peck. When 2 young women, aka Southern Belles, are getting off the riverboat and the working girl who is watching them from the dock feels oh-so-frumpy.

  10. Thats great writing! And she’s only 19! I hope she goes somewhere with it, she should!

  11. Well-done, 19 year-old!

  12. i LOVE it. and i felt the exact same way just last week!

  13. squishyvan says:

    I know I’ve had similar thoughts. Great writing that really rings true! Hope she keeps it up!

  14. Great work! The details place the reader in the moment. I am not sure why, but I particularly liked the line:

    “I have nothing to compliment and would have to submit to her scrutiny while she determined that for herself.”