Bathing Suit Shopping or the Importance of Listening

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“Come shopping with me” she said.  “I’d like to get your opinion”  He mumbled his “yes” only half-listening as husbands often do and went back to his paper.  A good man to be sure but a man who would soon come to wish he’d listened more closely.

The department store was teeming with people.  This occurred to him when he was trying to find a parking place. He hated crowds, frankly hated shopping.

“I’ll drop you off” he offered sweetly “and meet you inside, where will you be?”

“In Bathing Suits” she replied, rolling her eyes. “Remember, I told you I want your opinion?” She hopped out and disappeared into the throngs of eager shoppers.  His stomach clenched.  Bathing suits.  “Dear God” he thought, casting his eyes towards heaven, wishing he’d been paying attention.  “Should’ve told her I needed to organize my sock drawer…”

He finally chose a parking place some distance away, in part because there was shade, in part because it allowed him to slowly meander towards the store, buying time I suppose.

“TUESDAY IS SENIOR’S DAY” proclaimed signs in a profusion of color.  That explained the crowds.  Like a deer in the headlights he scanned signs above each department, finally asking a salesclerk where he’d find ladies swimsuits.  She pointed and he swore she smirked.

In part due to the congestion of shoppers but also with impending dread, he dragged his heels as he made his way towards her.  “Finally” she huffed, handing him an armload of bathing apparel “hang onto these, I’m still looking”.  Feeling as uncomfortable as if he were handling her lingerie, he stood there laden down with floral prints, stripes and polka dots.  He tried to envision her choices, shuddering at the thought of what was coming next.  “Go get in line for me”  He looked at her, clearly puzzled. “For the dressing rooms!”  He followed her eyes and saw the line, he sighed. He saw another man in the same predicament.  A pained look passed between them.  As he got closer, he could hear conversations emanating from the dressing rooms. He could hear someone crying.  “I feel you” he thought.

Finally she arrived back with more selections and a dressing room opened.  “Wait right there and I’ll call you” she said.  Nervously, he did as asked.  “Ready!” she said as the door opened, “what do you think?”  She was a sight in fuchsia flowers.  “Umm hmm” was all he could think of.  “Fine, let me try another”.  “How about this?” she pirouetted in a jungle print.  He didn’t know how to respond and could tell she was exasperated.  Several more came and went, he was feeling light-headed, wanting to be kind but honest.  “Ready!” she signaled again and he dutifully went back into the fray.

“Do you think this makes my butt look big?”

Not always a clever man, he clutched his chest and dropped to the floor.  Paramedics were summoned.

“You okay Sam?” asked the paramedic who’s name badge said “Chuck”.

“Not sure what happened there Chuck”.

Then, discreetly he looked Chuck in the eye… and winked.

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Writing 101 assignment Day Twelve: Dark Clouds on the (Virtual) Horizon

Today’s Prompt: Write a post inspired by a real-world conversation.

We don’t write in a bubble — we write in the world, and what we say is influenced by our experiences. Today, take a cue from something you’ve overheard and write a post inspired by a real-life conversation. Revisit a time when you wish you’d spoken up, reminisce about an important conversation that will always stick with you, or tune in to a conversation happening around you right now and write your reaction. Take time to listen — to what you hear around you, or what your memories stir up.

Today’s twist: include an element of foreshadowing in the beginning of your post.

My twist:  I’m currently in Florida and was shopping for a bathing suit on Tuesday.  I may or may not be the one who was crying in the dressing room in this story, you decide.  But I did see such a man who appeared to be in pain in this very scenario and paramedics were called to the store while I was there…..

6 thoughts on “Bathing Suit Shopping or the Importance of Listening

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