Andie B.

Junior Writer | Milwaukee, WI

Andie is a world traveler, and a collector of stories. She has lived in eighteen states, and in three countries. However, no matter how far she goes, she always returns to Milwaukee, the city that captured her heart as a child. Always a writer of poetry, during her studies toward her B.A. in English Literature, she discovered a new writing passion for fiction, and non-fiction, and hasn’t looked back. She is in the process of writing her first detective novel. In her free time, Andie can be found at antique markets searching for gems to add to her vintage typewriter collection.
As a Story Terrace writer, Andie interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below

Not Very Happy In Pink

I can only think of a handful of times I made my mom happy during high school. I know at the top of the list is my attendance of the junior prom. My friends and I were proud non-conformists, denounced the social norms of the average suburban teenager and refused to participate in any activity that might be in any way connected to “school spirit.” However, for reasons I’m sure none of us can explain even today, we never entertained the idea of not going to prom, the most socially predictable school related ritual to exist in the high school experience.

When I asked my mom for money for the dance, she didn’t snarl at me about not being a cash machine. Instead leapt up out of her chair, and with her torso bent concavely and with arms stretched up like an ape, full body embraced me pinning my arms down at my sides. “I am so happy for you!” she exclaimed. I was a little spooked; this was far from common behavior from her. The last time she had given me any positive attention was when I hadn’t failed freshman algebra a second time.

From under her piles of papers she produced a fresh legal pad. “First we need to find a dress, shoes, hose, etcetera,” she contemplated my head and grimaced, “we’ll have to do I don’t know what to that hair, but we will leave that to the professionals, order a boutonnière for whoever is going to be your date…”

“Mother, Matt is my date.”

“Well, there’s time to hope on that one changing” she said in a tight voice.

“But Mother, I just need some money. Lisa, Katie and I are going shopping for dresses at a second-hand store by ourselves, and nothing is wrong with my hair.”

A long silence spread a distance between us; she was hurt. It was pretty obvious that if I wanted any cash this was going to be a mother/daughter bonding affair. More than anything I just wanted her to continue to be happy with me.

“Ok, Ok, Mother, I just thought you wouldn’t want to be bothered, you always have so much work.” I knew I was surprising both of us by agreeing with her.

I ran to my room and called Lisa chanting “please pick up! pick up! pick up!” I didn’t even wait for her to finish saying hello before I jumped in.

“Oh my god, what am I gonna do?! My Mom wants to make this into a thing, get the dress together and to do something to my hair!”

Tracy responded in a resigned voice, “Mine too and Katie’s.”

In the back ground I heard Lisa’s Mom: “ARE YOU TELLING YOUR FRIENDS WHAT AN AWFUL MOTHER I AM SINCE I WANT TO BUY YOU A…” Lisa hung up.

I found excuse after excuse for why I couldn’t go dress shopping. I even resorted to staying in multiple evenings spreading open books around my room to exhibit the sheer amount of homework I was supposedly doing. I couldn’t suddenly decide not go to the prom; it would devastate Mom. I also knew she would see right through a sudden brake up since she knew I dated Matt mainly to spite her. I was hoping procrastination might just once work in my favor, if I waited long enough, maybe the city’s supply of prom dresses would be exhausted by the time we went to shop for one. It never occurred to me that avoidance could turn into such an enemy.

One night Mom came home early with a dress she picked out on her own. It was a fussy satin, chiffon and lace disaster. It suffered from a Victorian inspired, high collared lace neck line, large billowing elbow length sleeves, and was almost strangled in bows and ruffles.

“The color is called dusty pink, isn’t that romantic?” she gushed.

If she didn’t look so sincerely thrilled, I would have thought she was playing a joke on me.

“Oh, I have to go get the best part, the petticoats.”

I stared at the monstrosity without blinking until a breeze of cool air moved my attention toward the door where Mom stood with what looked like two full length tutus and a shoe box under her arm.

“Well as you know, every girl wants her dress to be extra full so I got two petticoats, you know I always wore two, and I was thinking, and I am sure you’ll agree, white shoes are really the only way to go here.”

She misinterpreted the two fat rolling tears as happiness putting her arm around my shoulder “It’s OK, I felt the same way when I saw my wedding dress for the first time.”

I started to daydream that right before prom Matt would be hit by a bus. Not killed, but just injured enough that I couldn’t go to the dance. It would also be wonderfully dramatic to be able to say that your boyfriend got hit by a bus. But Matt didn’t get hit by a bus, and the day of prom arrived.

I had an appointment at Mom’s beauty parlor; it was the first time in years that my hair wasn’t being attended to in a friend’s bathroom or kitchen. I had a typical skate punk anti-haircut, shaved to the scalp half way up my skull, with the majority of the rest pieces at random lengths that had been determined by haphazard attacks with scissors except for a long limp curtain that covered the left side of my face. My hair was also blue, a result of an experiment to achieve green that had gone acceptably wrong.

A woman in a lab type coat covered my head in magical potions that burned my scalp, made my eyes water and threatened to give me black lung. My hair was coaxed to a pretty natural looking auburn brown. The longer pieces were gelled, sprayed and combed over the smaller bits giving the impression of long, evenly cut hair. The front piece was backcombed until it resembled an arc of water from a drinking fountain. I looked pretty normal but nothing thirty minutes with a box of black hair dye couldn’t fix. Out of nowhere the technician produced a large white bow made from starched lace. Before I knew what was going on, she pressed the scratchy ornament to the back of my head with double sided tape concealing the shaved area.
An hour later, outfitted in yards and yards of pink fabric, white shoes that were already pinching my feet, a bow taped to my head and a corsage that sprouted at my wrist and bloomed nearly to the lace at my elbow, Matt and I stood in the driveway for the obligatory photographs. I knew my smile didn’t look natural, but I tried my best. That night my friends and I eventually found each other and discovered that none of us had been immune to our mother’s influence in our appearance. We collectively made up a pastel rainbow of over embellished girls that were almost indistinguishable from the rest of the frothy conformity in the room. All of us were dressed in our mother’s dreams of normalcy that each held for us.

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