Trade Off

“You owe me a thousand.”

As we walked out from the store, my classmate began inquiring about my date. He was intrigued why I had to charge him stiff.

“You went out with her and now I have to pay your expenses. That’s absurd!”

“Listen. If you suggested something safer, I would not have suffered anxiety attacks. It was a good thing she accepted the compromise.”

“What compromise?” he was confused.

“That’s the thousand is all about.”

– o –

“Take me home!”

She was furious. Her dress was ruined. Whatever the gorilla spat out stained her immaculate dress, a splat of coffee brown was too visible in front. The visual effect was not pleasing to the eye.

“I want to go home. After that, I don’t want to see you again.”

“I could buy you a dress while you watch a movie. Please. I want to make amends.”

She calmed down. The idea of a new dress appealed to her.

“Okay,” she agreed but with a warning, “It’s better be good, or else.”

“Thank you. You’ll never regret it.”

– o –

I noticed the salesladies’ gazes kept following me. Perhaps they wondered what was a man doing in the Women section alone. Unless . . .

“What size are you?” asked a smiling woman in her twenties. She was over made up that her face looked masked.

“No, no,” I shook my head. “I am looking for a dress.”

“Hmmm. I think I can find something that would beautifully fit you,”

“Not for me,” I clarified. “For my girlfriend.”

“That’s what they all say,” she laughed.

It sounded wrong to my ears. It was not so easy to buy things for women: suspicions on one’s sexuality often got in the way.

Before I could retreat, a middle-aged lady came over. She looked like a supervisor because the saleslady talking to me stood straight upon seeing her.

“I am sure I can help you, sir.” There was confidence in her approach.

“I hope so.” I described to her what I wanted. She was sympathetic to my problem,

“Come with me. I’d show you dresses that are more affordable.”

After I bought the dress she recommended, I thanked her for the assistance.

“I also have a daughter, about the same age as your girlfriend.”

A nervous thought crossed my mind. It would be a real coincidence if what I assumed would be true.

“Is she on a date? Is she wearing a white dress?”

“Yes, she is.”

“You must be joking!” I exclaimed. No way, this could happen to me.

She took a long pause before saying, “Absolutely!”



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