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Archive for the ‘I’m Just Saying’ Category
I will never forget the day. It was a blistery 65 degrees in the District 77005. I pulled the collar of my winter coat around my neck, thankful I was only miles from being home. That’s when the call came. Picture it:
“I need your help,” she blurts. My sister is never one for small talk. Jamie is strong and assertive. Because she is a rock, the panic in her voice is unsettling.
“What is it?” I hiss under my breath. Something tells me that I need to maintain composure. I try to exhale slowly, but my breath comes in uneven spurts. My pulse is racing.
“It’s Isabelle,” she says. “I can’t find her.”
I stop in my tracks, forcing everything inside me not to scream out in angst. I am angry at my sister for losing sight of Isabelle, yet equally afraid that our family will never speak to her again for the pain she will cause. I know that the burden of finding Isabelle will fall on my shoulders. The dread slowly sets in, hardening my heart, as I wait for the reaping.
“You have to go get her,” my sister pleaded. “Addison will be crushed if you don’t bring Isabelle home with you.”
Addison. The five-year-old is the light of my life. My niece means the world to me. It was only weeks ago when I visited District 75650 that we sat side-by-side, perusing the catalog. Horses, ballet bars, hair extensions and tiny bracelets. It was all there, ready for purchase with the simple click of a button. And Isabelle was the pièce de résistance waiting to be plucked from the golden cornucopia.
“We are too late,” she says. “We checked the Capitol website and Isabelle is no longer available. You must go and secure her. Please. For Addison.”
Of course I will go. I will volunteer as tribute for the American Girl Games. For Addison.
There is so much prep work to be done with so little time to do it. I research Isabelle’s face, wardrobe and accessories. I beef up on holiday M&Ms and pigs in a blanket. I stretch and practice throwing stiff elbows, feigning an apologetic facial expression. Finally, I take out the small loan I know I will need in exchange for Isabelle safe return.
It is a strategic move for me to wait until dusk to venture out into the wild. I figure young children will be out of harm’s way, and it is a correct assumption on my part. Navigating the mall parking lot is a different story. I decide to go on foot, with only a small ration of water, some Orbit gum and a squashed granola bar in the bottom of my purse. There’s no turning back now.
I maneuver in and out of vehicles with ease. Pride is on my side as I roll my eyes at the driver of the sedan waiting impatiently for a family of six to scramble into their minivan. Others circle the lot as if hungry sharks, following me like chum. Oh how they will scream in vain when I don’t use keyless entry on any of the cars in the front row. Finally, I reach the store front.
This is what I have been training for. I am ready. I push through the revolving door and land in a sea of historical dolls, their accompanying paperbacks and special DVDs with bonus footage. I try to put my game face on, but am immediately paralyzed by the sheer size of American Girl. Where do I begin? Is that a salon? WHO IS KIT AND WHY AM I DRAWN TO HER LIKE A MOTH TO A FLAME?
I rush to the wellness corner and fall into the fetal position by a doll in a wheelchair and one wearing a head gear. While rocking back and forth, I state what I know to be true.
My name is Lincee. I’m from District 77005. I’m here to find Isabelle.
My name is Lincee. I’m from District 77005. I’m here to find Isabelle.
The moment passes. I stand up and assess the situation. To my left are bitty babies. To my right is an actual cafe with Capitol children feeding imaginary food to their dolls. I decide to move forward since that’s where the majority of the people seem to be congregating.
A woman rifles through a clothes rack, looking for a size 6 pajama set to match the one her daughter’s doll will be wearing on Christmas Eve. A small child screams in agony from the insurmountable volume of choices. A man pushes by me. It’s only after he’s out of sight that I hear the word “Isabelle” issue forth from his mouth.
I race after him, ready to fight or barter. I’m prepared for whichever scenario presents itself. I bust through an actual teepee and find the Promise Land on the other side of the prairie. An Isabelle display stands before me. The man and I both grab a box and stare each other down, unsure if we are friend or foe.
“I see you’ve picked Isabelle!”
She was young. And a little too friendly for my taste. The man races away, as I hover around Isabelle’s display case. What does this woman want with me? Can she be trusted? She hands me an American Girl tote for my treasure and smiles blankly in my direction.
“I’m Maggie. Were you interested in any of Isabelle’s accessories?”
“LEG WARMERS,” I shout with a little too much enthusiasm.
Wait, what am I saying? Check the doll for wonky eyes and bendable appendages. Get in. Get out. Head for high ground. That was the plan!
“Perfect! How about a set of purple and pink tutus?”
My lip begins to twitch. I’m unsure. I stutter as Maggie begins shoving little pink American Girl boxes into my American Girl tote.
“Did you know that since Isabelle is the Doll of the Year, she won’t be available after 2014? Now’s the time to buy all of the accessories you want. Maybe you should consider the Isabelle starter kit.”
I feel a wave of nausea wash over me. Either my bag of American Girl crap is getting heavier or my knees are buckling. I sit down next to a doll in a fake bubble bath to call my sister.
“They want me to buy the starter pack,” I ramble. “She’s doll of the year and everything goes after 2014. I don’t know what to do. The leg warmers. ISABELLE NEEDS LEG WARMERS. AND A PURPLE TUTU. I’m about to eat the special berries in my pocket and end it all right now unless you tell me what to do!”
Jamie does what a smart, assertive person does. She consults the grandparents.
“We are a go for the starter kit,” she answers. “I’m still betting on you, Lincee. Make this happen. And stay alive.”
Maggie shoves 17 more boxes in my American Girl tote and points me in the direction of the cash register. The attendants are quick and nimble. It’s my turn and I hoist my wares onto the counter.
“Would you like to purchase the special outfit of the day that includes a dress, shoes and velvet headband? It’s only $15.”
I look at her with cold eyes. I tell myself not to be a hero and shake my head as I hand over my credit card.
I leave American Girl with a new perspective on life. I have been to war and will live to tell the tale of Isabelle. They will write stories about my bravery.
And the day the odds were ever in my favor.
A few years ago, my co-worker asked me if I liked my crouton lotion. He was dead serious. Being a nice person, I laughed it off as him being silly and went about my work. A few days later, I understood what he was talking about.
Doesn’t my Warm Vanilla Sugar resemble croutons? I laughed. I laughed hard.
It happened again last year with my niece. She kept talking about how one of the wise men had a cupcake for the baby Jesus. He carried it on his head.
I blamed my sister for this inaccuracy. Then I saw this and it all made sense.
May your day be merry and bright. And may someone bring you a cupcake today!
I would love for you to bring me some super awesome vocal chords and musicality so I can become the sixth member of Pentatonix. Of course, we’d have to change our name to Sixatonix, but I’m sure everyone would be cool with that.