Slim Fast Can. Eleven ounces of quickly digestible calories with a balance of protein and fat. And potassium. Why that matters, she doesn't know. What she does know, and what really matters, is that the chocolate liquid with its 220 artificially flavored calories will be absorbed along the one mile walk to the middle school. Mother and daughter walking. Mother walking and watching, making small talk while desperately trying to prevent her 6th grade daughter from starving to death. On purpose. Her head already balances precariously on her tiny frame, but no one believes in purposeful starvation. Precise elimination. So it comes down to a daily can of Slim Fast in a cheery red can, watchfully consumed on a walk to school that seems shorter every day.
Family singing at Christmas Eve candlelight services. Final songs sung. Fragrance of Frazier fir lingering and mingling with smoky candles and peppermint canes. Tradition for 12 years, come to an end. Moving truck gone on before. Everything packed in two cars. Christmas lights inside the van, trying to capture the spirit of the holiday. Loaded with possessions and dog, an empty-eyed teen and her sisters. Santa knows hotels on I 5, right? Don't cry; it's a grand adventure. Let the hope lights lead the way.
White on white. Lace or not. Ballgown? No. Mermaid? Can't dance. Beading and sequins and appliqués. What kind of neckline? Halter? Sweetheart? Daddy says, "You're beautiful in a burlap sack." He's not invited on this quest. No help at all. Strapless, yes. Tulle? Maybe a little. Shimmer? "Um, no, Mom. That's so 1987." Wink, grin, whispering. "I'll wear your veil as my something old." Ouch. Yards and yards of white: eggshell and ivory and cloud and whisper and natural and champagne. Who knew white came in so many colors? Little girl disappears into a fitting room and walks out a woman, a vision, a bride. Ready.