(NOTE – While this story describes an actual event – there are NO photo captions provided – or any artwork!)
It was a summer with consecutive days of temperatures above forty degrees. The air-conditioned shopping mall was a cool haven to escape the humid heat. Rebel Sports lured me in with Boxing Day specials promising fifty percent discounts on flamboyant bright sport’s tops and matching tights. I grabbed ten items of various sizes. The fitting rooms were narrow cubbyholes entered directly from the main shop floor, each hardly big enough to fling one’s arms around.
I raised a decent sweat trying on a pair of shorts.
“Holy Moley,” I uttered under my breath. “No air-con in these fitting rooms?”
I squeezed into a pair of tights. Getting them off was an ordeal while balancing on one leg, then the other. My body felt like it was covered with a layer of velcro tenaciously adhering to any material.
I suspiciously eyed the eight remaining items and mentally whittled them down to one.
It was a two-piece sporty thing, the kind I’d admired on younger well-toned females flouncing around in supermarkets. It consisted of a vivid blue sport’s bra visible beneath an attached outer aqua layer. I felt a stirring of hope and excitement, imagined myself looking cool and trendy on my morning walk. Yes – this will make me WANT to go walking! Felt a lift of courage as I peeled off my tired old bra.
It took time and effort just to work out how to get into the new top. I got the four attached shoulder straps with two crossing at the back over my head, but it was a tangle and required a second attempt. Then the bra part got stuck above my boobs.
“Okay, this could be tricky,” I mumbled.
I hauled the edge of the bra down over one boob. The rest got stuck over half the other boob. I couldn’t get my arthritic fingers under it. I battled, grasping, yet unable to drag it further, until I gave up trying to get it ON. So I endeavored to pull it OFF, anything to free myself from the padded material, which wouldn’t stretch or co-operate over my clammy boobs and back.
I had visions of being forced to call for help. I cringed at the thought of peeping out the door and begging assistance. Worse I could only recall seeing young guys as shop assistants out there.
I broke out in a further outpouring of perspiration. How to extract myself without creating a public scene? I glanced at myself in the mirror – horror of horrors! The wretched top clung about my damp nakedness like an octopus with suckers.
Enlisting a surge of new energy, I bent over, exhaled, slithered my fingers under the bra and fought it. Inch by inch it was released from my boobs while breaking three of my fingernails. I took a big breath, bent over again and tugged with such anger that it was flung over my head, landed on the floor and lay dead.
I hardly recall escaping the confines of the fitting room and the shop. I remember shaking in the car for five minutes before I drove away, out into the bright hot sunshine of freedom.
PS – I am grateful to my writing group Writers Collective for critiquing this story and providing suggestions. Thankyou.