This is inspired by my interest in swimming and the differences between my friends and I.
Chapter 2 “What about this one, Diana?” mom asked, holding out a bright purple dress with a large silver bow around the middle. I made a puking gesture. My mom rolled her eyes, and moved on, pushing through endless racks of dresses. The eighth grade cruise was coming up next weekend, and I, unlike most girls in my grade, had not found a dress to wear yet. Not that I didn’t want to go, but I wasn’t much of a dress person. Finding one to wear in front of everyone I knew was hard work. I had
lots of rules that my mom couldn’t seem to remember; no pink, no bows, no long dresses, no super short dresses, nothing with very much cleavage, and then there dresses that weren’t any of those things that I still considered ugly. My mom smiled and pulled out a way to short, gold sequence covered dress. “This is perfect! It would look great on you!” She chirped, holding the dress against me, “Why don’t you go try it on.” I gave her a blank stare. “Okay, okay, no need to give me that look…” she retorted, putting the dress back. I sighed, knowing I needed to tell her that Lannie wanted to quit swimming. I had spent pretty much the whole shopping trip thinking about it, I really needed to find a way to tell her without making her mad at Lannie. I knew she hated it when Mom yelled at her. Actually, she hated it when anyone yelled at her, so I made sure never to do it myself. I supposed, in some ways, I was afraid she should blow up at me too, maybe because she’d thought I’d encouraged my sister to want to quit something again. I brushed my hand through a row of dresses we’d already looked through that I’d decided I hated. “Mom?” I finally said, hoping I had the right words prepared in my mind. She continued flipping through dresses before eventually replying with a distracted, “Yes..?” My eyes darted around the room, making sure that what I was going to say was what I wanted to say, that It made sense, and would allow me to get the reaction I wanted out of Mom. I cleared my throat and began, “Well…I was think-“ “DIANA!!” a loud, voice that sounded like it had just finished giggling, and probably had, shouted from what sounded like across the department store. I looked around wildly, and saw two girls bounding towards me. One wore a black jacket with the hood up, and tee shirt with some creepy looking alien on the front. The other had blue Converse shoes and a gray and red striped tee shirt with ripped skinny jeans. As they approached I realized they were my two probably closest friends that weren’t guys, Sydney and Ori. I didn’t hate their sense of style, but I just had on normal jeans, green converse, and a bright colored sweater. I also had on my soft, knit hat. You know normal cloths. Ori was a small girl, with black hair, pale skin and brown eyes. Her hair had a red streak on the side. Sydney had almost strawberry blond hair and blue eyes, with a streak of color that was exactly the same except hers was lime green. Thee three of us were alike in many ways, most involving our personalities, not interests, though sometimes I couldn’t help feeling like we were closer in sixth grade, back when anyone could be friends with anyone. But unfortunately, or fortunately, we were growing up, and everyone was starting to acquire their own personal opinions instead of just going along with what their friends did without caring or thinking. “Hi..?” I replied, confused at the fact they were here. My mom whipped around, “Oh, Hello!!!” “Hi” Sydney told her in her calm voice, and then they grabbed my arm, and dragged me to a completely different section of dresses. I didn’t protest, who wanted to chat in front of parents? “I didn’t know you guys were going to be here…I thought you already bought your stupid dresses” I said, wondering just a little bit why they hadn’t invited me, but they’d always been closer to each other than me, especially in the last year or so. They gave me a weird look for a minute, like I was just so weird for calling dress shopping stupid. It meant that I was annoyed by something involving the precious 8th grade cruise. Sure it didn’t look horrible, but all this getting dressed up and everything…It was so much trouble. They looked like they wanted me to take it back, almost, so I just stared into space with my “I don’t give a crap” look on. Finally, Ori opened her lips, coated with weird blue lip gloss, and answered, “We were just looking at the cloths over there, and we both wanted a new pair of skinny jeans so we were trying them on.” She shrugged, “We didn’t really figure you’d…be interested”. Her statement wasn’t exactly correct, but I knew what she meant. They were shopping for the kind of cloths they liked. “And afterwards we’re going to go over to Ori’s house and play Universe for a while. I’m really close to unlocking new armor, but first I have to defeat the Orknod, and I need her help” Sydney informed me. I gave sigh. Yeah, I was glad I hadn’t been invited. As girly as they were, in the past year they had gotten into the first person shooter games, and heavy metal music. I wasn’t sure if they did it to get the attention of guys at first, but now they were completely obsessed with that kind of stuff. Universe was one of their favorites, and probably one of the most popular first person shooter games. I had heard the term “Orknod” before, but I had never asked what it was because I simply was not interested. “So anyway, have you found a dress yet?” Ori asked. I sighed, “Nope. My mom has found nothing that meets my standards yet”. Sydney gave me a weird look, “Why don’t you look for yourself then?” “Because I don’t really….care that much?” I replied with a shrug. Ori and Sydney looked at each other and then rolled their eyes, “Come on….” They said dragging me towards the black, gray, and white section of the dresses. Colorful. “You’re right” Ori began, “You’re mom has probably not found anything interesting. But if you would look for yourself, you would have discovered this section.” I looked around. There were gray, black and white dresses in every color. I noticed Ori’s loving looks seemed to be mostly directed towards the black ones though. She was right; my mom had not reached this section. There were some normal dresses here; we would have reached it eventually. But finding by looking by myself? I would describe myself as a pretty colorful person. I wasn’t a fan of these dresses. “Oooh! Diana, look this is the one I got, I don’t think you’ve seen it yet” Sydney said, staring up at a dress on the black wall. I, preparing for the worst but at the same time not feeling interested enough to think about it very long. I strolled over to my strange friend and peered up at the dress she was pointing to. It was a gray and black striped dress, with tank-top style straps. The bottom of the dress was made to look frayed and torn. It was defiantly a Sydney dress. If it had been black and green striped without all the frayed crap, I might have really liked it. “I found mine! Come here!” Ori exclaimed. She was flipping through a rack of gray dresses. I ambled over to her, hands casually in my pockets, not really getting as much enjoyment out of this as they were. She pulled out her dress, her eyes lit up, as if she designed it herself. It was strapless and gray, but in parts some of the gray was extremely ripped and torn away in places to reveal a lime green fabric underneath. Well, at least it had color in it. I still didn’t adore the rips, though. In my opinion, it looked as though it used to be a gray dress that someone had worn and then fallen down a hill filled with briars and put the random green fabric underneath to try and make it look better. The two girls gazed at me, smiling, waiting for feedback on the dresses they picked. I could see a glint of determination in their eyes. They knew I didn’t like the dresses, but they were also pretty sure I wasn’t going to say anything bad about them to their faces. It was a silent challenge. “Cool”, I replied dryly. The spark in their eyes disappeared. My comment had defeated it. “Well, now that you’ve seen our dresses, let’s help you find yours!” Sydney chirped, obviously entering some glorious fantasy involving my dress. I was scared. Both girls almost skipped over to me, observing my body. Their eyes moved up, down, and around. Mostly they looked at my eyes, skin, and head. I just sighed, trying to pretend not to notice they were staring at me. I didn’t really think very much of that could have very much effect on a dress, but I didn’t say anything. They then took to the dress racks. I just stood there, feeling pretty confident I wasn’t going to like anything they picked from this section of dresses. After several long, tedious minutes, Ori pulled out a dress, “Sydney! I found something!” Sydney, whose head was still stuck in the dress rack, answered, “Awesome! I did too; wait just let me find her size…” I tried to look at what Ori had decided upon for me, but she hid his behind her back, waiting for Sydney. I scowled. Finally, Sydney came out, holding out a dress. It was neon purple, with long violent looking rips down the side. It looked sort of as if some wild animal had raked its claws across the dress. Ori stood beside her friend, holding out the other dress. It was green with damaged black lace covering it. The lace at the bottom was frayed, and it was snagged almost to the point of a hole in multiple areas. They both smiled, obviously waiting for me to pick one. I shrugged, “Uh great guys, but is there any chance you could help me find a dress without rips in it?” They stared at me. I hope I hadn’t insulted them, but then I realized I hadn’t done anything wrong. They could be insulted if they wanted to, it wasn’t my fault. “And maybe with a little bit more color?” I added. So I wanted a colorful dress without rips. I thought that could give them a lot more to work with it. Or, at the least get us out of this section. Of course, that wasn’t what they wanted though. Finally Sydney sighed a little. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to notice that sigh or not, but I had. “I guess we can try that…If you want to. But I promise, the best dresses are here”, Ori said. They both flashed a grin and held out their dresses again. “Eh, no thanks…” I said without any feeling. If I put feeling it, it would have for sure sounded rude. I didn’t really want them annoyed at me. I walked slowly out of the scary dress area, gazing around at all the normal dresses. Soon, I heard footsteps behind me and my friends followed. “So are you even sure there are any other good dresses?” Sydney asked. Her voice was almost rude, and defiantly questioning, but I tried to ignore that. I decided to tell her the same rules I had informed my mom of, “I don’t like a whole bunch of sparkles and I don’t want it to be too short, or to low cut either.” “Yeah, neither do we!” Ori replied, sounding almost excited that we had that in common. “And then I think completely black, gray, brown, or white is…..well boring. So yeah, colorful” I continued. This was what they might not agree with. Well they weren’t much for white and brown, but they loved gray and black. I expected them to say something, but they just nodded. I couldn’t decide if that was good or bad. “Lastly, I think totally pink and giant bows is over the top too”, I noted. This time Sydney smiled, agreeing with me. Pink was, I liked to think, their greatest enemy. “There can be pink in it, I don’t hate the color, but I don’t want like, a lot of it to be pink” I said quickly. Honestly, I liked all the colors. “Okay!” Ori chirped, and they set off, flipping through dresses. I was pretty sure there would still be no pink in my dress, but I thought I would at least try to point that out. Oh well, I could live without pink. I then turned, and took a few steps around a dress rack to where my mom still stood, flipping through dresses that looked like bigger sizes of dresses for seven year olds. I pretended to puke on the ground, which got my mom’s attention. “What?” She held out a yellow and pink dress with a huge flowery bow across it, “You don’t like these either?” “Ha, no” I scoffed. She didn’t really seem surprised, and put the dress back searching through the rack again. “I wanted to ask you something”, I said innocently. She stopped looking, and turned around, “Can’t it wait until we get home? What are your friends doing?” “They’re trying to find a dress for me,” I laughed, “They tried to get me to pick black and neon dresses with giant gaping holes in them!” My mom rolled her eyes, “Those girls sure are different…” I sighed, realizing I had gotten off topic again. “Anyway, I wanted to ask you-“ “Your friends are trying to find a dress for you and so am I. We can’t stay at the mall all day. Just wait until we get home, please?” she interrupted. I groaned a little, and walked back to wear I had last seen Sydney and Ori. Sydney was still there, I couldn’t see Ori anymore. “Um, find anything yet?” I asked. There was a small pile a dresses now hanging over a half empty clearance rack. Sydney stood up, “Yeah!” she picked up the pile of dresses. “Ori!!” she said loudly. “Yes?” Ori’s head popped up a few racks over. “I’m going to make her try them on now. Did you find anything else?” “Not really….” She said as she walked over to us, “There was one a liked, but it wasn’t the right size…” Sydney turned to me, “Does your mom have any kind of budget?” I shrugged, “She might. It probably depends on the dress.” Ori looked around over racks and past walls of dresses, “There is it!” she exclaimed, racing off. We followed, Sydney clutching the armful of dresses. I wondered if I would like any of them. “There you go! The changing rooms”, she said, sounding proud that she had been the one to find them. “Remember” Sydney begin, handing me one of the dresses, “We want to see everyone. So come out after you’ve tried this one on!” “Guess I have to if I want the next dress” I said as I walked towards an open stall. I pushed it open and stepped inside, locking the door behind me. The room was very plain, and I guess it was because it was just a department store. There was a small wooden seat attached the wall, and then a mirror on the other. I took off my sweater, shirt and hat, tossing them on the bench-like thing. I took off my shoes, socks and jeans too. I saw the dress was white and orange, but nothing else because it was lying in a heap on the seat. I picked it up and without look at it pulled it on. This one seemed pretty simple, and there was no zipper. It has straps like I had asked, that were sort of the same shape as a tank top. It was orange at the top, but at my chest it stopped and from then on was white with orange floral patterns. I liked the dress, and I was surprised they had picked it. I walked out into the hall again so Ori and Sydney could see. They looked at me for multiple seconds, like they were experts or something- I got the impression they had fun pretending they were- when finally Ori said, “Spin around”. I did as I was asked and the dress flared out a little bit. “Well I like it” Sydney finally commented. “Yeah me too…” Ori said quietly, still gazing at me. “What do you think Diana?” “Well….” I began, putting together my opinions of the dress, “I like the color, and I like the shape. I think it looks alright on me too. I wouldn’t say it’s outstanding, but I could be happy wearing it.” They both nodded, seeming pleases with my response. “Okay, well here’s the next one,” Ori said, picking a dress from the pile which now sat on a stool in the hallway. I grabbed it, and walked back into the stall. I set the new dress on the bench, on top of my clothes, and took off the orange one, putting it back on its hanger. I put on the second dress, which I quickly noted was my favorite color, a deep green. It zipped up on the side, and had thin straps holding it up. It fit all my rules too. The green dress was simple; the top was tight, and made of something that at least seemed to be silk. The bottom was the same color and fabric, but fit more loosely than the top. I absolutely loved it.