Do Clothes Make the Man?
Whatever! Sally didn’t think about it too much. She just reveled in feeling good about herself, the dress, everything. She was planning to wear it to her cousin’s graduation. It was perfect, not too dressy and not too casual.
The entire family was going to Beth’s high school graduation. It was quite an achievement. Beth had always been in “special needs” classes because of her hearing problems. Her auditory perception was poor. In a way, the disability was a gift, because she was forced to work harder than everybody else. She did, and it paid off; she was graduating with honors.
Beth’s father was so proud. Beth’s mother had died when she was young, so their life wasn’t easy. Her dad had medical problems, so there never seemed to be enough money. He also was kind of clueless when it came to “girly” things. Beth didn’t have the nicest, or the latest clothes, never mind make-up. Sally was never sure whether Beth dressed poorly because she didn’t know any better, or she couldn’t communicate with her father, or they didn’t have the money. She always felt sorry for Beth.
So Sally wanted Beth to have a good graduation. Beth deserved some happiness. She couldn’t wait to see her and catch up on each other’s lives.
Sally slept in Beth’s room, in a sleeping bag. They usually watched TV, talked, giggled, talked, play cards, and talked. Sally had grown up a lot, since Beth had seen her last. She was interested in boys. There was one boy in particular who Sally would like to know better. His name was Dave. He had never asked her out, but he seemed interested when they talked together.
Sally perceived that Dave was maybe clueless about Beth liking him. Yet he and Beth talked together was a sign that he knew Beth was alive and wasn’t adverse to her attention.
In their all night “gab” session, Sally learned that Dave’s parents were having a graduation party, after the ceremonies. Sally offered to help Beth with her hair and makeup.
Despite the lack of sleep, both girls were up early and jazzed to go. Sally helped Beth fix her hair to fit under the square mortarboard. The girls talked about makeup and clothes. They decided Beth was to wear just a little makeup for the ceremony, and shower afterwards, and start over from scratch, for the party. Off they went.
Sally thought Beth one of the prettiest girls graduating. She could compete with every girl in that school, in looks alone, never mind brains. She spotted the boy-friend-to-be, Dave, too. He was attractive. Dave and Sally had much in common, according to their yearbook bios. Sally didn’t see any reason why the two of them wouldn’t get along.
After the ceremony, Sally and Beth rushed home with an aura of special happiness. So far the day was perfect. While Beth showered, Sally looked in Beth’s closet. It was sad. No dresses, no skirts, only tops and jeans. Beth had worn shorts under her graduation gown, so Sally didn’t know that Beth had nothing good to wear.
What to do?
It was too late to go shopping. The only thing Sally, herself, had in her suitcase was jeans, shorts, and carpenter pants. “Oh dear!”
Sally wanted so much to make it happen for Beth. She’d give her the shirt off her back, if she could.
Sally could take off her lucky dress and let Beth wear it—just this once. After all, Sally wasn’t going to this party; she wasn’t invited. And it would mean the world to Beth.
When Beth came out of the shower, Sally was in shorts, and the beautiful dress was on a hanger waiting for Beth.
The girls reeled around the room giggling, with a curling iron, mascara wand, and all kinds of female accoutrements. Thank goodness the shoe style was thongs, because Beth’s feet were too big for Sally’s shoes. Beth was no Cinderella.
The piece de resistance was the dress. As Sally dropped the dress over Beth’s head, she felt kind of sad, but she ignored it. Sally couldn’t ignore the vision before her. The ordinary tee shirt and jeans, hair in a ponytail girl, was transformed into Cinderella. Extraordinary--breath taking extraordinary.
Sally took pictures with her cell phone. No one is going to believe this is Beth. What a transformation!
As Sally watched Beth walk down the street, again she felt sad. She wondered if the dress was magical. Does the dress make the wearers feel beautiful and that’s what everyone sees; or is it the beautiful dress itself? Beth is a beautiful girl, inside and out. Why doesn’t everyone see that? Should Sally be asking the same question about herself?
When Beth returned a few hours later, she had to shake Sally awake. Sally had fallen asleep watching TV. Sally rubbed her eyes and then opened them in shock. Her dress was ruined! It was a wilted, damp, soggy mess.
Beth was happily waltzing around the room relating her tale of Prince Charming rescuing her. She babbled on and on—Dave asked her for a date.
“But the dress…” Sally managed to croak.
Beth said, “Dave wants to go to a concert.”
“The dress?” Sally asked.
Beth continued, “Dave works at Patriot’s Place and we have our pick of concerts.”
“The dress?” Sally voice got louder.
“Actually, any event, Dave said.” Beth was in a dream.
“THE DRESS! THE DRESS!!!” Sally screamed.
“Oh.” Beth looked down and remembered. “Oh, someone pushed me in the pool, and Dave jumped in to save me.”
Sally was speechless.
Beth apologized about the dress and said, “I don’t know how to swim. I panicked, until Dave saved me. Everyone remarked what a shame such a pretty dress was ruined. It was, I mean, I was the talk of the party. I was a big hit.”