The Last Filene’s

“The last Filene’s Basement closed December 29, 2011, fifteen years ago today. But thanks to the miracle of UR-There, you can relive that moment, along with thousands of other shopping experiences available through UR-VR technology. Plug in the SIM and begin your tour of this stop in the Manhattan Merchantile Museum. Wink to personalize your experience.”

Piper slipped the little card into the bow of her specs, joining hundreds of mothers showing their daughters what it real shopping was like. The left lens showed “Running of the Brides” in a series of looping images depicting teams of color coordinated, T-shirt wearing, walkie toting women fighting over billowing white dresses. In the right lens images looped of a man and woman fighting over golf shoes, a woman standing on a table, ankle deep in underwear, swinging a blue satin brassiere over her head, a mob of men and women in ankle length coats mashed against a glass door. From both ear pieces came the sounds of screaming cacophony.

Piper carefully closed her right eye and counted to three. And there she was, in stereophonic verisimilitude, in Filene’s Basement, experiencing the very last bridal run as a clerk, clinging to her cash register. Piper felt the sweaty hands. She heard the shrieks of anger and joy. Her heart raced with the heart of the clerk. Snarling faces flung spit and black nailed hands jabbed credit cards in her direction. The clerk at the next counter passed her a wet-wipe and a pair of non-latex gloves. She sighed with relief.

And suddenly she was a mother, angrily dragging her daughter to the back of the store. “They hide the good ones in the back,” she heard herself saying.

Her hands curled as she used her right hand to lever herself off a broad backed woman with “Tracy’s Tribe” in gold glitter across a green expanse.

“But I don’t want a wedding,” whined the girl dragging behind, her arm manacled fast in Piper’s own left hand.

Piper wanted to look around in sympathy, but the woman, whose point of view she was sharing, kept her eye on the pearled lace gown, ruched bodice topped with lavender bows. Piper felt herself flying between elbows, releasing the arm of her daughter. The gown was cool and silky and desire incarnate. She lifted the little hanging ribbons off the hooks on the hanger. She smelled the rose sachet that filled the padding under the straps of the gown. The smell of perfumed talc filled Piper’s nose. Piper and the woman held the gown aloft. Turning she said, “This will be perfect with smoky gold flecks in your eyes.”

Piper recognized the daughter and ripped the specs off her face. “Oh my God! Mom! That was you? That was Grammy?”

Her mother nodded.

Piper dug bunched fists in her eyes but the sight of her mother’s twenty-year old face remained. She grabbed the Kleenex held for her and blew her nose. “And I was in Grammy’s head. That was a stinky thing to do. Why didn’t you warn me? Did you have to wear it.”

“No. Your dad and I hopped a plane for Vegas instead. Grammy paid for it with the money she got making the vid. I got the wedding I wanted, and Filene’s gave her the dress of her dreams.”

About Susacadia

I am a writer, fiber artist, and occasional raconteur. I've been around the block a time or two, but stuck to any career I ever had for at least 10 years. They have all morphed logically from one to another. But under it all I have eternally been a teacher and a learner.
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