Mags couldn’t stop pulling clothes out of hiding places in her room and laying them out. A cerulean dress she last wore to church on Easter Sunday, a houndstooth jacket, and a pair of emerald green Capri pants hung from her bedroom doorknob. She covered her bed with three different front-pleated floral dresses, her favorite low-waisted wool number with the bow instead of a collar, and her only pair of white gloves.
She just needed to see it all out. Take inventory. Then she’d be able to decide on what to wear. She was absolutely sure of it.
She stacked her record player on a step stool and stood atop them to reach two hat boxes perched at the top of her icebox-sized closet. Inside, Mags knew, were a brand new pillbox hat and a white turban-like chapeau with a single feather reaching up like a dandelion growing in a sidewalk crack. She didn’t think either of them were appropriate for a memorial service, but what was? The famous man had died over a year ago. This wasn’t a funeral; it was his famous wife’s call for attention after an appropriate time of mourning. Her second coming-out cotillion, so to speak, but Lao Russell would never think of it that way. But this whole thing was a delicate situation.
Not only would Mags be meeting the woman who had changed her life tonight, she would also be meeting Lao Russell as a guest of her new lover’s parents. Even the term lover wasn’t quite right. Was it?
It all happened so fast. They were in Nadine Albert’s bedroom. Nadine was playing with Mags’s long red hair as they talked about Elvis, then she was curling her finger around Mags’s ear. Mags had finally asked for what she wanted instead of waiting for what was given. Well, sort of. She hadn’t used words, but her intention was clear. Mags had leaned in and closed her eyes. She had never considered kissing a woman, but the breeze was coming through the window and there was the smell of spearmint gum and that minute or two of being the center of someone else’s attention. It was the loudest thing she’d ever heard. No. The opposite.
It was the quietest symphony.
“That was far out,” Nadine had cooed after the kiss. “I didn’t think you liked me.”
“Of course, I like you. Why would I be here listening to records with you if I didn’t?”
“I meant, in that way.” Nadine blushed, sending chills up Mags’s spine. She could feel the dynamics shifting between them like blobs in a lava lamp.
“I think I just knew you’d be cool with it, and I’ve been feeling pretty sick of waiting around for something…anything to happen.”
Nadine put her hand on Mags’s knee. “What else would you like to happen?”
A billion thoughts rushed through Mags’s head. A cigarette, a Coke, listening to Don’t Be Cruel again, dancing, kissing her friend again. But through all of those thoughts, a yearning budded.
“Your parents are still going to the Russell memorial, right?”
“I want to be there. I want to meet Lao, get her to sign my book. I would never have thought to kiss you if I hadn’t read her book.”
Nadine looked at her a moment too long.
“What?” Mags huffed. She should have left it where it was. She’d gotten one thing she wanted; she shouldn’t have asked for another so fast.
“If I talk my parents into taking Lao Russell’s biggest fan to her house, will you invite me over to your place to listen to records?”
Mags had leaned in for another kiss.
Back in Mags’s bedroom, all of the surfaces in her bedroom were covered with clothes and accessories. She wanted to be respectful, someone had died after all, but she wanted to look interesting. Interesting enough to catch Lao’s attention, but not in a bad way.
No. None of the clothes would do. If being bold had gotten her here, then she had to keep being bold because it was obviously working.
She dug around in her bureau for the mini-skirt she’d only worn once before. Then she pulled the longest pair of white go-go boots from under her bed. The Alberts were picking her up in an hour. She needed to reread a few passages from Lao Russell’s book before then.
This draft is fresh off the presses. Constructive criticism welcome.