Exit the break room. Sean just left you for the waif of an intern, Char, but you still have an hour to kill and a $13 merchandise credit at Free People. Advance to the nearest store.
Enter. Consider exiting. Think to yourself, surely in this overpriced boutique for human people, if rarely those made of flesh, regular-sized bones, and self-awareness, I can find somethingfor $13.
While browsing socks, recall how Sean sexted Char on your birthday. Make a detour into accessories. Locate a scarf for catching tears. It would need to be a clearance scarf. Wrap one around your face.
Follow the signs, and your heart, to tunics. Smile at the associate and secure an armful on your way to a corner.
Arrive at the corner.
Kneel as you drape 14 tunics over your body. Proceed to the nearest pit of self-loathing.
In thirty-seven minutes, peek out from the tunic cave when a sales associate taps your shoulder. Turn down her offer to call for help. Also turn down her offer to start you a fitting room.
Prepare mentally to exit the store, but then see the pants.
Bear your whole face now and wipe your tears because those pants are IT for some event. It won’t be your Bachelorette party in Vermont, but you won’t be sad and single with a wide-open calendar for long in Peacock Crinkled Velvet.
Stand up and gather your pride, your tunics, and the velvet pants.
Make a confident entrance into the fitting room.
Swerve and wriggle. Ignore the sound of popping threads until you’re inside the pants. Crumple back to the floor.
Assure the associate you’re fine in here. Say, “I’m fine in here” or “Char sucks.” The associate doesn’t know Char. Let this help you.
Emerge from the fitting room with shreds of undeniable dignity and also, entirely by accident, of velvet.
Signal to yourself you’ll make up for what you’re about to spend by skipping therapy for six months. Do you really need therapy? Or do you need a stack of gold bangles tall enough to be a neck elongator? Put them around your neck. Feel them stretch you skyward. You’re getting the hang of Free!
You have arrived at six foot four. Sean can no longer deny the heights you’ve reached, neither metaphorically nor with respect to the actual ceiling in the break room.
Add a new stop on your way to the cash register for shoes. Realize a floral roller skate is not just any shoe. Assume Char hates to roller skate. Who hates fun?
Lace up the skates and push off.
Ask to the associate to cue the music. When she stares, skate on.
Make a U turn followed by a U turn followed by a U turn. Invite the associate to skate.
Catch sight of a Camo Jumpsuit, and toe the floor to brake. Wow. Is that a $695 clearance Halloween costume, or is it the ticket to your future? You were meant to make waves, especially at the company offsite where you might run into Sean and Char. Nothing says I have arrived like a pheasant hunter/tired painter. Be sure in some way you can’t put your finger on, it’s a metaphor for how you move through life.
Slip into the jumpsuit. Roll straight into the bank of registers and present your $13 merchandise credit. Look around to distract yourself from the incessant beeping of the price tag scanner at your neck.
Avoid eye contact with the associate; ironically, she doesn’t know a Free Person when she sees one.
Reassess must-haves when the balance is $917. Catch a glimpse of your Free Self in a full-length mirror. Proceed with the transaction.
In a few months, get back together with Sean when Char dumps him, and return the merchandise for present-value store credit. But hang onto the jumpsuit. It really is so you.