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Tiaras and Trucks

Friday, September 9, 2011

Shedding the Familiar

“You can’t wear that,” Cate announced boldly, though it had taken a rather large glass of wine to find her boldness.

Greta felt her smile falter. 

She looked forward to her nights out with her girlfriends, circling the date in her planner and staring at it during mind-numbing staff meetings or nights at home when In Style called to her more loudly than one of her beloved novels or the never-ending chain of e-mails she often tackled from her couch.

Cate pushed back the blonde curls ever tumbling over her forehead, despite headbands and bobby pins and expensive styling products that she ended up tossing across her bathroom in disgust.

Boldness might not have been the right tactic.

“Oh don’t look at me like that!  You look great, Gee, but you still can’t wear that.”

Carrying her own wine glass into the hallway, craning her neck to look in Cate’s full-length mirror, Greta turned a critical eye to her reflection, searching for her error.

The cotton shift fell nearly to her knees, the blue slightly deeper than the palest shade on the paint swatch that sat, forgotten, on her kitchen counter at home.  Flattering and familiar, it was one of Greta’s favorite dresses.

“It’s pretty,” Greta smiled at her college roommate, “And it doesn’t matter.  I didn’t bring anything else.”

“Of course it’s pretty,” Cate said, waving her chipped manicure dismissively, “Everything you have is pretty.  Well, except those yoga pants you won’t get rid of.  But maybe it’s time that you branched out beyond pretty.”

Greta drank her wine, letting Cate ruminate in thought.  After a suspiciously short moment, Cate rushed into her bedroom and returned with a mass of denim in the hand not occupied by a wine glass.

“Try these.  They’re too small on me,” Cate explained with an exaggerated sigh, walking back to the café table for more wine.

Holding up the jeans, a tendril of wariness snaked around her brain.  Cate had been the same size since they had lived together years ago.  A size Greta was always dancing just above, even on her thinnest days.

“Where’d you get these?”

“What?  I told…” Cate trailed off, then looked up, eyes traipsing between mischief and guilt.

“Fine.  I bought them.  I know they’ll be perfect.  It’s time you got back into some sexy jeans,” Cate said, giggling in defiance.

“What I’m wearing is fine,” Greta protested.  “It’s not like I’m the only one not wearing your fancy jeans uniform.”

Cate’s hand waved through the air again.

“Maybe not.  But you’re the one who needs them.”

“I’m not ready to deal with dating quite yet,” Greta said quietly, eyes entreating Cate to understand.

“Oh honey, who said anything about dating?” Cate poured both of them more wine, eyes and smile embracing Greta from across the room.  “You need them.  Not any of the guys lucky enough to see you wearing them.  Just try ‘em on.”

Knowing they would fit perfectly – Cate’s eye for clothes was both a gift and a practiced skill – Greta slid into them, reluctantly.

Walking into Cate’s closet to pull out a forgettable, forgivingly stretchy top, Greta felt a change in her gait. 

“It’s the wine,” she told herself, sliding her feet into her neutral heels, twisting in front of the mirror to inspect every possible angle for a reason not to wear the gift.

It wasn’t the wine. 

Greta wore the jeans for three straight days.

If you're interested in Greta's story, this piece takes place between "She'll Understand" and "Her Red Shoes".

 
the prompt:

Jeans. They can evoke so much emotion in us: the hot jeans we wear on a date, the skinny jeans we can finally fit into, mom jeans we vow never to wear, the comfy jeans we’ll never throw out.

The assignment this week is to write a piece – fiction or creative non-fiction – in which jeans play a prominent role. You can even write an ode if you’re so inclined.

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27 Comments:

  • At September 9, 2011 at 7:57 AM , Anonymous Jackie said...

    I need an awesome pair of jeans like that! Actually... we all do. Oh, and a girls night out too!

    The only thing that stuck out as odd to me was the paragraph about Cate's hair. It seemed out of place a little with the story being about clothing and focusing more on what Greta was wearing. I could be wrong though.

     
  • At September 9, 2011 at 8:59 AM , Anonymous dosweatthesmallstuff said...

    Ah, I remember the good ol' days, when you can count on a sexy pair of jeans to feel your best.  Unfortunately for me, those days are over *sigh* LOL.

    Can't help but get excited along with Greta though... the jeans symbolizes a beginning, a transformation...

     
  • At September 9, 2011 at 9:47 AM , Anonymous Carrie said...

    Woot for sexy jeans! Greta gets her groove back :)

    My only critique is I found it difficult to follow whose point of view it was in. I felt like it bounced a bit between Cate and Greta.

     
  • At September 9, 2011 at 9:51 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Carrie!  I'll work on cleaning that up a little before I add it to her story page :)

     
  • At September 9, 2011 at 9:51 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It makes me want to go jeans shopping.  Though I don't really have much opportunity to don the sexy jeans.

     
  • At September 9, 2011 at 9:52 AM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Maybe I'll take that out.  I was trying to get a little more of her personality across, but I guess it didn't really fit :)  Thanks Jackie!

     
  • At September 9, 2011 at 11:14 AM , Anonymous Mssharealot said...

    I need Cate to go shopping for me!  :)
    I did find this sentence confusing though "Not any of the guys lucky enough to see you wearing them.".  Assuming the Cate means that the guys don't need the jeans, but it seems akward somehow.

     
  • At September 9, 2011 at 3:18 PM , Anonymous Jennifer Barricklow said...

    I love the idea of this kind of gift -- much more than a gift of clothing, it's a gift of perspective. Cate finds a concrete way to tell Greta what she sees in her AND to help Greta see it for herself. That's a great friend, and a lovely scene between these two characters.

    My favorite line: "in the hand not occupied by a wine glass."

    I second the comments about POV and the confusing sentence that begins, "Not any of the guys..."

    And I, too, would like to have Cate go shopping for me. :-)

     
  • At September 9, 2011 at 3:29 PM , Anonymous amberpagewrites said...

    I love this. I may have to go jean shopping soon...

     
  • At September 10, 2011 at 8:00 AM , Anonymous jentos23 said...

    Love this, Angela! I love how good jeans can make you feel great!
    You are doing a great job with the Greta story-line.

     
  • At September 10, 2011 at 1:31 PM , Anonymous Hopes@Staying Afloat! said...

    OH Man!!  I would kill to find a pair of jeans that made me feel that way!

    Beautifully written as always!

     
  • At September 10, 2011 at 5:42 PM , Anonymous Advenutres in Alyssaland said...

    Ditto the part about Cate's hair.

    By the way I want those jeans...

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 8:59 AM , Anonymous Emily @ My Pajama Days said...

    I love how she walks differently in the jeans! So realistic. And what a good friend to make her "wake-up" a little. I had a pair of jeans that felt that good, well, I still have them, they just don't fit. Sigh. Maybe it's time to buy a new pair.

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 6:11 PM , Anonymous Kristy Lorenzen said...

    It's hard to let go of a pair like that!

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 6:26 PM , Anonymous Kpiccini said...

    It was perfect,right down to the phenomenal last line. Wow Ang, your writing was superb for this prompt. I enjoyed so many things about this, esp the description of her best friend's hair. Wow, wow, wow.

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM , Anonymous AwayWeGoNancy said...

    Oh, this was fabulous. I loved this line: "a tendril of wariness snaked around
    her brain...." because it's so incredibly descriptive and evokes a bit of suspicion.

    But the heart of this piece, was this line: “You need them.  Not any of the guys lucky enough to see you
    wearing them.  Just try ‘em on.”It speaks volumes about Cate. Greta is lucky to have her.

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:50 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Nancy!  I think I need to tweak that line a little, because it seems to have some ambiguity, according to other comments.  I'm glad you noticed/liked it, though, because when I was writing this, I thought that was an integral part of their exchange, and her realization of the point of the jeans.

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:51 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thanks Kir!  The hair description has actually drawn some ire, so I'm glad it wasn't a complete wash (ha ha, a hair joke!) 

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:51 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    It's hard to FIND a pair like that.

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:52 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Sigh.  Me too.  I finally "retired" my most favorite jeans last winter, though I hadn't worn them in years.  I know I need something new, but I am cheaper than I used to be but also have higher standards.  Not the best combination :)

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:52 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I want them, too, believe me :)

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:53 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you :)  If I find those jeans, I will pass along the information :)

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:53 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I have to go, too.  It's not as fun for me as it used to be!

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:54 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I think we all need a Cate, huh?  Thank you for your thoughtful comment; I appreciate it.  

     
  • At September 11, 2011 at 9:56 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    I actually wanted it to mean that Greta needed the jeans, she didn't need the guys necessarily.  Since she talks about not being ready to date.  Cate's intention was to make her feel better about herself, not really to attract an actual date.

     
  • At September 13, 2011 at 10:11 PM , Anonymous CDG said...

    You have a light touch with the emotions, which I love. Just enough to let me read the deeper meaning myself.

    Happy for Greta.

     
  • At September 14, 2011 at 8:20 PM , Anonymous Angela said...

    Thank you!  Evoking emotion is one of the things I actually think I can do fairly well.  Unlike dialogue, gah! which is one of the reasons I shy away from it!

     

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