Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fee Fi Fo Fum

The cowboy boots were at least three sizes too big. The Western-style blouse was not quite Western-style enough. The denim skirt was ill-fitting and spun around my eight-year old waist like a hoola-hoop. It was Cowboy Day at Monroe Academy, and I had insisted on dressing up, despite my severe lack of appropriate clothing.

About mid-morning, I found myself in the girls’ bathroom, painfully awkward in my too-big shoes and dumb-looking shirt. I had locked myself in one of the pale yellow stalls. My friend Ashley Gail stood outside the door, calmly trying to reason with me.

“I look dumb!” I managed to choke out between some pretty pitiful sobs.

Ashley Gail, ever the consummate professional even at eight, let out a small sigh and clucked her tongue. “You don’t look dumb. You look beautiful.”

But I knew I looked pretty dumb. I was already the tallest girl in my class, and the too-big boots made me a couple of inches taller still. I felt like a giant among my classmates. As I stomped around the halls before class, I had the nearly undeniable urge to utter, “Fee Fi Fo Fum.”

My petite friend couldn’t possibly understand my embarrassment, the sheer torture of it all. She barely came up to my shoulder and was super girly and nearly elfin in appearance. Her Cowboy Day garb consisted of perfectly-sized boots, a cute little vest, and a bolo tie. She was the epitome of Cowboy Day. I was What-Not-To-Wear, the cautionary tale of a cowgirl gone sour.

Her calm voice called to me from my seat on the toilet. The stiff skirt kept me from sitting properly, so my legs were kicked out in front of me , my toes sticking out from under the stall door. She crouched down next to the stall door and patted my boot-clad foot. “Come on, Katie. Come out, and we’ll see if we can fix it up a little better.”

There wasn’t much use in arguing with Ashley Gail. She was going to be a District Attorney. She practiced cross-examining me all the time. She would win this case like she won all the others. I surrendered easily, reaching forward and unlocking the stall door so she could see me in all of my tortured glory. “There you are!” She said sweetly. “Now come on over here, and let’s stand in front of the mirror.”

Stand in front of the mirror? This was just what I wanted to do, be made to stare into the eyes of my Cowboy Day shame. I straightened up from my seat on the toilet and stood up. The bathroom stall suddenly felt ten times too small.


I crossed over to the mirrors with Ashley Gail. She put her tiny arm around my waist with its pinwheel skirt. I had to duck my head to be able to see our reflections in the mirror.


After studying us for a moment, she turned towards me, began tugging at my blouse, adjusting my skirt.


She stopped fiddling and stood back, as if to judge her handy work. I imagined her taking two Mother-May-I giant steps backward to be able to take in my entire form. “Hmm…” She clucked again, a mother hen trying to decide how to fix her enormously awkward chick. At a risk of mixing metaphors, I was her ugly duckling.

“I’ve got just the thing!” Her pixie face brightened as she grabbed her denim and tasseled purse from the bathroom floor. Yes, Ashley Gail, the perfect example of a perfect Cowboy Day cowgirl, even had a matching Cowboy Day purse.

Triumphantly, she pulled out a red bandana and waved it like a victory flag. She tied the darn thing around my neck and claimed it “fixed” me.

The rest of the day I stomped around Monroe Academy in my too-big boots, ugly blouse, and ill-fitting denim skirt. But it was okay, because Ashley Gail’s red bandana fixed everything. 

This week's prompt asked us to remember an "embarrassing moment." I had plenty, but this Cowboy Day fail stands out. Keep in mind no one forced me to dress up. Oh, no...I brought the pain and humiliation on my own self. I went 63 words over the limit. I couldn't stop the therapeutic healing right in the middle of everything.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...