La pantamanie

Photo of a framed illustration in Simons department store, Park Royal, West Vancouver 2019

Photo of a framed illustration in Simons department store, Park Royal, West Vancouver 2019

Writing Prompt No. 98

Andrea turns this way checking the fit of her new jeans.

She turns that way twisting her body looking over her shoulder.

How do they may her bottom look? Lifted? Round? Youthful?

Snug. Not too tight. Pockets in the right place. No VPL. Good thing she’d worn the right underwear. God bless thongs.

Definitely these ones.

She undoes the top button and unzips the fly. She peels them down her legs like a banana skin. In the few minutes she’d had them on the inside seam had left a mark in her skin. A red depression that ran all the way down each leg. The seam was hard and inflexible with double-stitching.

Not to worry. They’ll soften with a bit of wear and tear. Then they’ll fit like a glove.

The voice in Andrea’s head is strong.

BUY THEM! BUY THEM! YOU DESERVE IT! YOU’RE WORTH IT!

Another pair? She has twenty-five pairs already. Who needs twenty-five pairs of jeans? Different colours, different fabrics, different colours, different brands, from the dirt cheap to eye-wateringly expensive. Not all of them great finds. How did we get here? The charity shops heave with the weight of so much discarded clothing.

Andrea taps her long fingernails on the counter as she waits for the jeans to be added to her shopping bill.

“And how will you be paying today? Cash, debit or credit?” The sales assistant is young a spot is beginning to erupt on her chin.

“Credit,” says Andrea. “Thanks,” she says as an afterthought.

“I love these jeans,” says the sales assistant. “They’re so soft. You have to treat yourself sometimes.” She folds the jeans up and places them in a bag.

“Yes,” says Andrea feeling a pink flush of embarrassment flood her face. She inserts her card into the reader.

DECLINED.

There’s a flutter of adrenaline in her body as if she’s been caught doing something wrong. She fumbles through some inaudible words.

“So, that card’s been declined. Do you want to try again? Sometimes it’s the machine.”

Andrea nods. She pulls the card out and pushes it back in again with some force hoping that this will knock the machine into acceptance.

APPROVED.

The message blinks up on the screen. Relief overwhelms the threat that had filled Andrea’s body.

Approved. What it meant to feel approved.

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