Alyssa somberly wandered through the Misses department at Macy’s avoiding the black drab clothing. “Ooooo…do I dare?” Alyssa scooped together a few items and headed to the dressing rooms.
Her mood perked up immensely as she twirled in front of the four-way mirrors in the perfect outfit. The feminine lacey layers of the white mid length cotton skirt swirled as she danced around. Alyssa beamed as she fiddled with the hot pink tank’s lace trim that came down below the hem of the sheer overlay blouse. The orange and hot pink flowers were stunning against her California sun-kissed skin.
Back inside the dressing room, Alyssa quickly changed back into her jeans imagining what shoes she would buy to go with the splendid new outfit. Distracted by her cell phone as it sang loudly; I wish they all could be California girls…, Alyssa wiggled in a circle in an attempt to pull her tank top on as she worked around the pink glittery cell phone held to her ear.
“Hey, Sis,” Alyssa mumbled as she stooped to grab her purse and slip on her flip flops at the same time. “I should be there soon. I stopped for a little… retail therapy…feel better, yes…see you soon.”
Snapping the phone shut and jamming it into her pocket just below her hip bone, she assessed her appearance one more time. “In ten years a lot has changed. Boy, they are in for a shocker for sure.” An ornery smile spread across her freckled face.
Pulling into the driveway of her childhood home, Alyssa fought the myriad of emotions she had stuffed for years. No longer would she allow the oppression of her four older sisters to have an affect on her.
“Oh, my word,” Susan exclaimed as she peeked through the blinds.
The remaining women in the house scurried to have a peek. They watched with their mouths gapping open as Alyssa strutted confidently up the walkway. “She looks anorexic.” Susan blurted out true to form.
As the others turned away from the window, Ruthie remained watching every step her baby sister took up the familiar walkway. She couldn’t help but smile her approval.
Later that evening, the five girls sat with their mother as they went through pictures that stirred memories…memories that caused Alyssa to squirm.
“Tea, anyone?” Alyssa stood in need of a distraction. She could hear the women discussing tomorrow’s plans, and hummed quietly as she inhaled the orange scent while pouring the steaming hot water into awaiting cups.
Alyssa sat with her legs curled under her on the couch while the others chatted endlessly. Being the youngest, the lot fell to her to sleep on the couch. In essence, the others were in her bedroom. Eventually she snuggled down and pretended to sleep in hopes that they would soon turn in.
“She looks great," Alyssa heard her eldest sister whisper.
“I think she looks anorexic,” Susan insisted.
“You have made that point clear,” Pam whispered in disgust.
Lynn stood and yawned, “Can we please just go to bed. This discussion is getting old. So the prodigal daughter has come home. Kill the fatted calf and let’s party tomorrow.”
Susan spat out in anger, “A bit late for her to come home, don’t you think?”
Alyssa’s body gave an involuntary shudder at the sharp words. Ruthie spotted it, but reached over to turn off the lamp and shoo everyone to bed.
The next morning, Alyssa waltzed out to breakfast in her new outfit. “You are not wearing that today, Lyssie?” The words stung, but Alyssa refused to let it show.
“Susan, I am thirty-four years old, and I will wear whatever I want today.”
Always the peace maker, Ruthie stepped in, “Oh, good someone is ready to go with me to the church to set things up. Are you game, Alyssa?”
At the church, Ruthie watched as her baby sister evolved backwards from the confident, mature, beautiful, California girl, to the insecure abused little child that moved away ten years ago. Unwanted memories now flooded Ruthie’s heart. How many ways had her helpless baby sister been abused?
Relieved to be there early, Alyssa stood at her father’s casket alone, yet nothing escaped Ruthie’s protective eyes. “Daddy, I forgave you for what you did a long time ago, but now I need to forgive my sisters.”
Ruthie quietly slipped her arm around her baby sister’s waist. “Lyssie, forgive my silence.”
Dabbing at Ruthie’s tears, Alyssa began to forgive.
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