My dad’s car was gone. Most likely, he was gone to his office. The company seemed to need him 24 hours a day. My mom was fighting with a vacuum cleaner hose. When we walked into the room, she looked up and dropped her work. The vacuum cleaner hose vomited dust onto the carpet. She ignored it and looked me over. “My goodness, we’re progressing quite quickly, aren’t we?”
Lisa took the lead, “What do you think, Aunt Kim?”
“I think she’s beautiful! She has trusted you with this information. You realize the importance of keeping this to yourself?”
“Don’t worry, Aunt Kim.” She repeated her pretend lip zipper.
“You’re going to school like this?”
“No, Mom. I don’t think school is ready for this.”
“I think you’re right.”
“Mom, I want to ask you something.”
“Go ahead, honey.”
“Can Lisa spend the summer with us if it’s OK with her mom?”
“Honey, I don’t…oh.” She put her face in her hands. “Oh, honey, I’m so sorry. I forgot. This is going to take a lot of getting used to! Of course,
we’d be glad to have her. I’ll talk to her mom. I think Lisa could probably help you a lot.”
“Yeah, Mom, Lisa would be more helpful than a counselor.”
“Aaron, let me look at you.”
Lisa spoke up, “It’s pronounced ‘Erin’, Aunt Kim.”
“’Erin’…yes, that’s nice. Do you like it honey?”
“It’s OK, but I think the most beautiful name on earth is ‘Amie’. It’s French for ‘friend’, so it’s not just beautiful, it has meaning.”
“You want to keep the middle name ‘Taylor’”?
“No, mom, I think I’d like something more feminine. I like granny’s middle name, ‘Abigale’”.
“Wow, good for you! You’ll be a strong woman! I’m not even going to make suggestions, you’re more than capable of coming up with your own name. Everyone should be so lucky. ‘Amie Abigale Brooks’, that’s pretty. I could just kill those people at the hospital. I guess medical school teaches everything except how to tell a boy from a girl! But you look really nice, honey. What’s the plan for today, girls?”
“Well, Erin…Amie is going to need some clothes….” Lisa’s voice trailed off.
“Ah, no problem. You’ll need my debit card and a ride to … where?”
“I thought a resale shop, but not the one just down the street. Maybe one kind of far … you know? We’ll get more ‘bang for the buck at a resale shop.” Lisa was right, and I felt gratitude for her friendship. It suddenly seemed so sad that we would be moving away.
“OK. Let me put this work away. I’ll drop y’all off. I’m sure y’all are capable of handling this. Thank you so much, Lisa, for your help. Feel free to treat yourself if you find something you like.”
“Thanks, Aunt Kim, but it’s Amie’s day. She won’t have a problem finding something that looks good on her.”
Mom hugged me. “My dear Amie, I hope you’re happy. You’re so cute, and I think you should treat this as an adventure. It’s an adventure that is very rare.”
“Thanks, Mom. That’s exactly what I thought!”
Mom shoved the vacuum aside, grabbed her purse and gave me a purse she wasn’t using any more, and we got in the car and headed out for my adventure at the resale shop. It was not really far … just far enough from our part of town to lessen the chance of running into someone we knew. We pulled out in front and Lisa offered to go in first to see whether there was anyone there that we’d rather not see. She went in and, after a couple of minutes she came to the front window of the store and waved for me to come in.
“Bye Mom. Thanks.”
“Bye, Honey. Now … you can buy anything you want except the building.” She smiled.
“OK, Mom. We’ll call.”
She left and I went into the store. Apparently, early afternoon was a slow period for this establishment. There were only 3 other customer. There were two women shopping together and a grungy middle aged guy who probably just went in to escape the Texas heat.
So, we shopped. It goes without saying that this clothes shopping was different from any I had done before. In the past, when my mom would take me shopping and it seemed like they never had my size…or rather my shape. Pants would be too small in the hips and thighs, and too large in the waist. All but the smallest boys’ shirts were too large. Shoes were OK; because they always had plenty room for my tiny feet.
I thought of Copernicus. Strange … right? But, we had just been studying about him. In his time, astronomers thought the sun and other planets revolved around the Earth. So, they made their charts, graphs, etc. to project future locations of the heavenly bodies. When the heavenly bodies refused to cooperate, they revised their figures … only to have those pesky heavenly bodies go astray once more. Well, when Copernicus convinced them that the sun was the center of the solar system, everything worked. This shopping trip was working out because we had corrected one major assumption. Not everything fit, but at least the clothes were shaped right.
When we were done, the basket was so full I was embarrassed. I had jeans, dresses, skirts, and a multitude of sleeveless tops. None of it was the tiniest bit masculine. Lisa said there would be no, “Is that a boy or a girl?” That made me feel better. All the clothes would have to go into the closet until June, though.
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