Terri, Part 2

Terri continued her shopping, eventually scoring a new pair of shoes. Shoes didn’t fall into the see now, buy later category. Shoes were “trophy fish”, netted and added to her collection. The final store in the last leg of the sprawling complex was a Bridal shop. Terri stopped, her breath trapped in her throat. The sidewalk to roof display window held a collection of wedding dresses on headless mannequins. As Terri walked she could see herself and the dresses reflected in the windows, almost like she wore them. A glance at the sign over the door brought a smile to her face. Princess for a Day Bridal.
She leaned her purse and the shopping bag against the window and studied the selection of dresses, moving from one to the other, arranging her pose to match the displayed gowns. “That one,” Terri murmured. Don’t be goofy. Terri scolded herself. What would you do with a wedding dress? Invisible hands pulled Terri into the store.
A clerk appeared from behind a rack of dresses. “Welcome to Princess for a Day. Can I help you find something?”
Terri shook her head and felt her cheeks flush with warmth. What made me come in here? “No, I’m just…looking.”
The clerk put on a perky smile and rocked on her toes. “Oh, we like lookers. Have you set a date? We have the racks arranged in seasonal selections. If you can tell me when you’re getting married, I can show you a selection of suitable gowns.”
“We haven’t decided yet,” Terri mumbled. She turned to leave and felt her feet freeze to the floor. That’s it. The dress drew Terri’s attention like a magnet. Off the shoulder, beaded bodice, layers of tissue thin white and silver lace cascading down the full skirt. A separate train attached to the back with a bow. Her hand trembled as she brushed her fingers across the lace.
“Would you like to try it on?”
“I really shouldn’t.”
“Sure you should. It’ll look beautiful on you.”
Terri lifted it from the rack and held it in front of her. Tears stung her eyes when she turned to the mirror. The reflection staring back at her was the one she’d envisioned her whole life. She looked at the price tag and bit her lip. I couldn’t afford this if I was getting married.
The clerk must have seen her hesitation. “Everything in the store is thirty percent off during the grand opening.”
Terri swallowed, unable to find her voice. She turned to look at the mirror again. She needed a groom, at least a steady boy friend first. Didn’t she? “I’ll take it.”
Thirty minutes later Terri found herself back in front of the fountain on her way out of the mall. The garment bag was heavy over her arm, and she still couldn’t believe what she’d done. She closed her eyes and saw the dress again. A girl was allowed to dream, wasn’t she? Her hand slipped into the pocket of her jeans and drew out a fist full of change. Eyes closed, she tossed the coins into the water. You and me Lizzie, you and me.
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