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A Sizable Mistake
Despite being THE shopping day of the year, the store was relatively empty. Ella, Madison, and Laci each wandered over to different clothing racks, calling out to the others whenever they found something they liked. The surprisingly low prices made the girls squeal with excitement. Laci, who could barely be seen over the top of the rack, threw her hand in the air clutching a light blue top.
“Look, guys! These are each eight dollars! Come here!”
The two others raced over to her and began to debate colors, sizes, and styles. The clerk leaned against the counter, filing her nails looking particularly bored and annoyed. She glared at them from behind her black raccoon-eyes and thick, ebony bangs. Her mouth opened wide as she yawned; this was the only day of the year that required her to get up at a staggering two o’clock A.M. to come to work and she was loathing every minute of it.
Ella, Madison, and Laci on the other hand, were loving it. Each girl cradled a massive stack of clothes in her arms while simultaneously reaching out for more. Eventually, the loads became too heavy, a surefire sign that it was time to try everything on. The clerk watched them walk side by side, giggling with glee as they made their way to the dressing room. She rolled her eyes and lazily grabbed a lanyard off the key ring and followed after them.
“The limit is ten,” she said in monotone. They all looked down at their colorful heaps and then blankly back at her. “Pick out ten and then put the rest over there to try on after.”
One by one they made their selections, obviously not wanting to part with any of it. The clerk muttered something under her breath as she unlocked three stalls.
“Let me know if you need any other sizes,” she recited before exiting the dressing room.
Ella looked at the other two. “Wow, isn’t she delightful.”
“Yeah, seriously,” Madison said with a laugh before walking into a stall and closing the door.
The girls began to try everything on, sorting through their ten items in a matter of minutes. They would methodically emerge from their dressing rooms to retrieve more or swap with one another. Their giggles and remarks could be heard above the tops of the stalls as they critiqued themselves. Eventually, the piles of clothing dwindled.
“I’m going back out to find something to match this skirt,” Ella called to the others.
Madison and Laci stayed behind, trying on the last of their items.
“Madison,” Laci called, rotating sideways in the mirror. “Will you come out and look at this? I’m not sure if it fits me very well.”
Both girls stepped out of their dressing rooms. Laci had on a pair of black skinny jeans that hung loosely on her slim hips. She held her hands on her sides self-consciously, not sure what to think of the pants.
“Hmmm,” Madison thought. “They look a little loose to me. Maybe go down a size?”
They both turned to view them in the full length mirror at the end of the hallway. Laci faced her back to the mirror but stretched her neck to look over her shoulder.
“See how they’re kind of baggy in the back?” Madison observed, standing thoughtfully with a hand on her chin. “I would say go down a size. Other than that, they look great!”
Laci took one last glance in the mirror. “Yeah, you’re right. Thank you! I’ll go ask that clerk if she can get me smaller size.”
Madison smiled, pleased that she could help. After Laci left, Madison took a glance at her own reflection. She had on the same jeans that Laci was wearing, except she had a feeling that she wouldn’t be able to go down a size like her friend. The waistband dug into her sides and the legs practically cut off all circulation to her ankles. Madison hadn’t noticed any of these flaws until she had seen how the jeans fit Laci. Disgruntled, she tugged them off and threw them on the giant pile of rejected items that seemed to keep growing.
Soon, Laci returned with a fresh pair of the black skinnies.
“Madison, I hope you’re right about going down a size,” Laci called over the stall. “They only had one pair of zeroes left; if these don’t fit, I don’t know what I’ll do!”
Madison tried to respond with the cheeriest voice she could muster, but it sounded shaky and forced. “They could always call another store to find an even smaller size.”
“Yeah, that’s true. At least I’m not like a size 8 or something! Although, that’s pretty much the only size they have out there.”
All was silent as Madison’s cheeks flushed. She sat there looking in the mirror, even more upset with her appearance.
“M..Madison...?” Now it was Laci’s voice that was uneven.
Madison gathered all the clothes scattered on the floor and hastily left the dressing room. Ella suddenly appeared as Laci stuck her head out of the stall. Ella stood with a smile on her face and new batch of clothes to try on. She rambled on about the other sale racks as Madison pretended to listen in order to avoid speaking to Laci. She could feel Laci’s wide eyes watching her closely, suddenly realizing her mistake.
Madison ignored her as she dumped her heap of clothes onto the counter and dashed out of the room.
Ella looked utterly confused. “Umm...what’s going on?”
“I...I said something...wrong...” Laci tried to explain, but couldn’t find the words. She glanced at the clothes Madison had placed on the counter. The identical pair of jeans sat on top, tag sticking out. Laci leaned in and read her ultimate worst nightmare: