Shopping Cute (names have been changed*)

Even before I closed the door, I knew that “Brazen”* was a mistake. The teenager girls behind the counter, who were flirting with some boys about to leave, didn’t bother saying hello, which was fine with me. Having entered, I felt committed to the game but made quick work of it; circling the perimeter and stopping briefly only at purses and scarves (gaudy and cheap, though not inexpensive) so as not to look like a grandma seeking a teenile makeover. I tried to look like I was shopping for a fun high school graduation gift.
It was the kind of shop where thong bikinis of many colors are set out, like impulse-buy candy, right next to the cash register.
 “Topaz”* was something else again; trendy and funky and also the shop where I had found  my beloved yellow wallet. And a couple of summery tops, too.
The tall, thin, brown-haired salesgirl greeted me with retail warmth. I picked up a deep blue scarf with a discreet sprinkling of sequins along the edge and wrapped it around my neck.
“I love that color,” said the pretty clerk.
“Do you?” I wondered.
I wandered, enjoying the exposed brick, the hammered tin ceiling, the ‘30s jazz in the air. The antithesis of Macys, et. al.
In the dressing room, I tried on a long blouse with interesting details on the side. It didn’t do me any favors, and I remembered that the shirt I bought there last time had never really worked. I took it to the consignment store after one wearing.
            Before entering “Topaz,” I had walked around in “Morgana’s,”* a boutique for ladies of a certain age — my age to be precise. There was a large selection of mother-of-the-bride-wear and many “pieces” appropriate for cocktail parties, cruises, luncheons; also some perfectly acceptable suiting for work.

          I could wear some of this, I thought, and fled.

I pulled out my credit card at “Topaz.”
The towering shop girl handed me my receipt. “I love this scarf,” she said, as if for the first time. 
I ignored the bowl of thong panties.

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