The next day I decided to get out. I strolled through the downtown, mingling with what I called the "way too much money for their own damned good" crowd. Those whose toddlers were spending quality time with nannies, while they passed the hours window shopping and commenting on the urchin quality rags adorned by those in lesser tax brackets.
Still, the salty air smelled good, and the light breeze felt good on my face. I walked as if someone were following me, and that someone was my own heart. So I walked faster, until I felt I had escaped. At least for a little while.
Passing a window of high end eclectic clothing, I thought perhaps my credit card would help me further my journey into forgetfulness. "Le Chambre" hung gaudily over the door, and its promise of overly priced clothing and snotty clientele was too much not to go in.
I was instantly drawn to shoes. Can't say why, other than perhaps the display was so extravagant one could not bare to pass through without stopping. Yet it didn't take long for me to realize that one purchase was all I could make without sacrificing the electricity this month. Red sandals. I couldn't peel my eyes from them. They spoke to me as if I had to have them. Somewhat Dorothy-like, I'm sure, but they reminded me of something I couldn't put my finger on. It was familiar, yet not mine, until I could take them home and make them mine.
I grabbed without looking at the size. Those were it, I was sure. Taking my place in line, I began to eavesdrop on the conversation of the women in front of me. It was cliché enough for the two women in such bad hats to be gossiping with such venom, but much worse was the posturing and posing for the handsome, yet arrogant, check out boy. The wry smile he gave with from the confidence he had of taking one of these women home. The ogling by the rich and bored, and the soaking up of the sexy little underling, it was straight out of a bad soap opera.
It was enough to make one puke. But, not unlike a train wreck, you just couldn't take your eyes off of it. I watched him grin and flirt with each one as she checked out. And I watched as each one looked behind her on the way out, just to make sure he was watching. A true master of this queer dance, he knew all the moves. The egotistical eyes showed he knew no defeat. Although I'll admit, despite my distaste for doing so, I too, found him violently attractive. But I wouldn't let that stop me. This was my day.
As the woman in front of me took her change and walked slowly away, turning just before the door to make sure he was still looking, I flopped my shoes on the counter. His coy grin took one look at my out of place, Target bought attire, and took the form of an arrogant sneer. Not one with contempt, rather, but that of one of the popular kids, looking to make fun of the geek who had lost her way.
"Will this be all?" he said.
I handed him my credit card, a sharp look on my face. As he ran it, I noticed a slight look of concern as the machine ran its course. He half suspected someone like me wouldn't have enough to shop here. I became mischievously livid.
"Are you OK?" I said with as much genuine concern as I could muster.
His face screwed from arrogance to incredulous questioning. "Yeah...why?"
He handed back my card and slid the sack with my red slippers across the counter. "Oh, sorry. You looked like you smelled something. I thought maybe I farted."
And with that, I walked confidently out of the store. I glance back through the window, and he was still watching, despite the other hat bearing sack of cash in front of him, trying to get his attention.
I had won, and it felt good. The dream was behind me for now, and I felt like myself.