Jumpsuit by Lisa Montagne

Published by Running Wild Press, 2016

 

The jumpsuit was a thing of beauty. Made of dark-blue, shiny denim, it had an orange zipper that spanned from the crotch to the cleavage. It even sparkled ever so slightly in the sun, like it had been dipped in a vat of finely grained fairy dust. It sported capped sleeves, a wide collar, and bellbottoms. It was worthy of Cher or Liza Minnelli—certainly a back-up singer for Diana Ross. Nonetheless, it made me queasy. But, the jumpsuit also made me feel sexy and daring, which incited an occasional wave of sweaty armpits. In it, I was anxious to flaunt my new body and my new image. Seventh grade, here I come! I thought. There was no stopping me. I would no longer be the nerdy, fat kid. I would be a star.

Any rational adult would be stunned that my mother let me buy a body-hugging, denim jumpsuit for my thirteenth birthday. My mother was a real-deal Southern belle; she begged to me to wear make-up the moment I turned twelve.

“Lisa,” she would say, “after putting on your lipstick, you blot it with a Kleenex.” The purpose of this was lost on me, but she would grab whatever was nearby—Kleenex be damned—a bank deposit slip, a piece of notebook paper, a movie ticket stub—and press her lips around it. There were bits of paper everywhere with her red lip prints on them. In the car. Under the couch.

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