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The young girl stomped in, slamming the door and stomping up the stairs to her room. Slamming the door behind her and turning her radio up too loud. Her mother recognized this behavior immediately, another tough day at school, undoubtedly having to do with the popular girls. The mother let’s out a heavy hearted sigh. She understands this middle school angst, having lived through it herself. I’ll give her a few minutes to herself she thinks.
She occupies the other children with a snack and their favorite TV shows and steels herself to go upstairs and deal with the preteen angst. She makes her way upstairs and knocks loudly on the poster covered door. No answer, as expected. She sighs and walks in, turning down the the music as she makes her way to the sobbing lump on the bed, careful not to disturb any of the piles all over the floor.
“GO AWAY!” her daughter yells, pulling her pillow over her head.
The mother sits down on the bed next to her, closing her eyes and saying a quick pray for strength and patience. “Bad day at school honey?”
“I SAID GO AWAY! I don’t want to talk about it! It’s all your fault anyway!”
The girl starts to sob harder remembering the events of the day. She walked into school with her one friend, trying as usual to go unnoticed. As they walked by the group of “it” girls on the steps she heard them snickering and laughing “nice pants!’ they shouted “hope you dodn’t trip, would hate to see those bright shiny new jeans get scuffed” fits of uproarious laughter followed behind her as she swallowed hard and quickly walked inside. The taunts and laughs followed her all day culminating in someone tripping her as she walked to her table at lunch, bad does not even come close to her day. She should have known better, she should have known her mom would not buy her cool jeans, “not practial” “too expensive”. UGH! She didn’t get it! No one wears jeans like these. Dark, straight, stiff legs. They all have cool designer jeans that sit low on their hips with fades and fancy embroidery on the pockets, not a dark gold wave. Her sobs continue and shake her whole body.
“Oh Honey! I’m sure I understand, better than you think! I was in junior high once and I know how mean girls can be. I was teased all the time because I had short hair and wasn't wearing the newest gym shoes or the designer trend of the moment.”
The girls sobbing softens into sniffles and she peeks out from under her pillow.
“Really. When I was in school everyone, or seemingly everyone, had two things. Z. Cavaricci’s and Keds. Well the pants were ridiculous, big flaps on the side like elephant ears that attached in the front, looking back I’m glad my mom saved me from that fashion disaster! The shoes were the worst because they weren’t that expensive, $20 maybe. But that was $18 more then my mom, your grandma, could get them for a the local discount store and she refused to pay $18 for a piece of blue plastic on the back of the shoe.”
“So then why,“ her daughters asked, slowly sitting up, “are you doing the same thing to me?”
Her mother stifled a little giggle, “Oh Dear, is this about designer jeans again?”
“YES! No one wear’s these dark stiff jeans! I was laughed at and mocked all day!”
The mother puts her arm around her daughter and hugs her tightly. “ I’m sorry honey, I do know how you feel and what your going through. However $300 for jeans is just not something this family can afford.” She lets go and watches her daughter slump back into the familiar pre-teen pout. “They’re just picking on you because they can. You let them upset you so they do. I tell you what, bring your jeans down to my sewing room and we’ll see what we can do.”
“What do you mean?” the daughter asks with an incredulous look in her eyes.
“Well I think I saw some tutorials online to distress jeans or make a graffiti print on them, or we can make it into a skirt with some frayed seams and edges. There’s a lot we can do to make it unique just like you.”
The mother stands up and heads downstairs hoping in her heart her daughter will join her. It’s funny, she thinks to herself as she heads downstairs to ready the room; something that started out as clothes for the working class have become such a status symbol for the elite. She remembers having a similar fight with her mother and hearing the stories of her great grandpa. How he would come home in his jeans dirty and dusty form a day of work on other peoples houses and would change into a relaxed pair of chinos. Her mother told her that when she was as young girl (undoubtedly fighting with her own mother over what ever the denim trend of the time was) she asked grandpa why he never wore jeans and he laughed “Ha!Jeans are a working mans uniform! When I’m done working I want to be able to show the world that I am respectable man, and respectable men do not where there working clothes out around town”. The mother sighs as she looks up and locks eyes with her daughter, a shy smile creeping across her face. Working clothes no more great grandpa, she thinks, denim is now what divides the classes!
The next morning the girl bounced down the stairs, she was positively giddy and excited to go to school. She was wearing the new skirt they had made together the night before. Shorter than any skirt she was allowed to wear (she was wearing leggings underneath per the agreement) and covered in graffiti and glitter, with a frayed edge and distressing on the pockets. It was the coolest thing she had ever seen and no one at school had anything like it! The girl ran up to her mom who was busy fixing breakfast for the little ones and wrapped her in a big hug.
“Well your in a good mood this morning!”
“Yes! Thank you for helping with the skirt mom, I’m sorry about last night”
The mother gives her a knowing smile and kisses her on the head “Your welcome, have a great day and keep those leggings on!”
The daughter giggles
“I mean it! I was you once! Keep them on or the skirt is mine!”
The girls rushes off to school with more confidence than she has had all year. She meets her friend at the gate.
“OMG! That skirt is awesome! Where did you get it?”
“Oh it’s just a couture piece from a little indie designer, it’s one of a kind” the girl says with a smile, and a twinkle in her eye. The friends lock arms and march up the stairs past the “it” girls, only this time there are no wails of laughter. Behind her all the girl can hear are gasps and whispers of amazement and wonder. She holds her head high swelling with pride and a new confidence she has never felt before.
This post is part of The Sunday Creative, my medium is fiction and photography. You can be inspired over at Life Set to Words. To read past fiction pieces I have done, see label stories.