Claire, Age 11, Weston, CT
Gold, silver, diamonds, shoes, makeup, accessories, clothes, people and dresses all on the first floor of Macy’s: I feel like there’s an elephant on my arm with all of the dresses that my sister Julia is making me carry as I walk behind her like I am a servant. Every second a new dress is added to the pile, and soon all I can see is the different fabrics, colors, designs, and styles of the different dresses. I soon tell her I can’t carry them anymore, and we head to the dressing room, with me trailing along behind hoping I don’t trip. I gently try to hand her about twenty-five dresses without them flying in twenty-five different directions and making a mess.

“Seriously! How many dresses do you have to try on?” I say loudly.

“You would be doing the same thing if you were looking for the perfect prom dress,” my sister says in a sassy voice. While Julia goes into the dressing room, I sit myself on the couch. Every sixty seconds she comes out wearing a brand new dress. For a second I thought she was a super hero, changing in a flash into her dress. She tries on ten different dresses.

I start feeling like I have seen the same dress over and over again. I start to get bored and even start thinking about cardboard, the most boring thing in the world, but then get startled by my sister's voice.

“Claire! Come here!” my sister Julia orders. I walk to her curiously as I face the white shiny panel door. As she unlocks it, I hear a small clicking noise and see my reflection in the doorknob. I walk in and see her smile in the mirror while she says calmly, “I’m stuck.”

I knew at that moment finding the perfect prom dress today was over. I try not to laugh, knowing she’s my ride home, and I don’t want her to be in a bad mood with my life in her hands. But inside, I can’t stop. I don’t know how she could be so calm about this because she looks as stuck as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The dress that she had tried on was the prettiest one of them all-- it was baby blue and silky with straps around her neck that looked shiny in the light. It WAS nice... I bet she felt like a princess! Yeah, right, some princess, I think to myself. As I stand there laughing silently, she asks if I’m going to help or not. I hop over to try to unzip the dress but realize there is a big hole in the side of the zipper.

I ask her to lift up her arms so I can slowly but carefully shimmy the dress off her body. I try but to no success.

“She really tried on something too small,” I whisper too loudly to myself.

“I don’t need your sass,” Julia snaps. As I walk over and try the zipper again, Julia sucks in as much as she can-- she looks like an opera singer trying to hold a note. I go up and down, even side to side with the zipper, but it won’t budge.

“If we can just make the whole dress go over your hips we can get it off,” I say enthusiastically. We slowly give it another try but soon hear a rip. At this point we’ve tried hard enough already and there’s no way I’m going to give up. We keep going, being more careful than ever knowing that one subtle move will rip the dress.
“On my count,” I say. “Ready, 1, 2, 3…” While Julia squirms in a rush to get it off, I gently push it up a little each second; it looks like an inch worm when it walks.

“Just a few more centimetres,” I say softly, hoping that no one else can hear us talking to each other.

“We did it!” we both scream as loud as we can, not caring if anyone hears us. It’s as loud as New Year’s, counting down until the ball drops.

The bottom of the dress finally goes over head. We pull it off and try to fix the zipper and make it look nice so no one will notice the small tear in the back of the dress. We leave it on the wooden hook in the dressing room, tip-toeing to the door. We walk out the door and don’t look back.
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