Two little girls at Mass Easter morning, sisters about two and four years old, all dolled up in their Easter finest in matching pink dresses, white tights, white patent leathers, and pink straw hats. There with their mother who was not dolled up. She wore a plain white blouse, untucked, with the tails hanging out under her pullover, workaday slacks, a pair of practical boots that looked well broken-in. Her hair was still wet from the shower and if she’d combed it it had been in a hurry with only a few strokes to take out the worst of the tangles. No make-up. She looked tired and pale.
It’s just the three of them, by the way. There’s no father in the pew with them.
Fiction writing exercise. Explain the reason for the difference between the outfits the mother chose for her daughters and what she chose for herself.
A. The mother had spent all morning dealing with the fall out from the Easter Bunny’s visit and getting the girls ready so she hadn’t had enough time to worry about herself and was lucky to get everybody out the door in time for Mass.
B. The mother wasn’t feeling well and should have stayed home and would have but she didn’t want to disappoint the girls who were looking forward to showing off their Easter outfits.
C. The girls were dressed up to please someone or some someones the mother knew wouldn’t care what she herself was wearing.
D. The mother was dressed to go straight to work after mass. Not everyone has Easter Sunday off, after all. The malls are open. Grocery stores, restaurants. Barnes and Noble was open from 11 to 7 Easter Sunday.
E. The mother was someone who’d never given a thought to what she looked like but now that she has little girls of her own she’s determined that they’ll have the kind of fashion sense she’s never developed for herself.
F. Variant on E. The mother has never liked calling attention to herself but is proud of her little girls and likes to show them off.
G. Another variant. The mother believes she is not worth the effort.
H. The mother thinks the outfit she has on is dressy. Her pullover was pink and matched the girls’ dresses.
I. The mother had planned on wearing something else to mass but for some reason had to switch to what she has on in a hurry.
J. The mother did not in fact choose the girls’ outfits because she is not their mother. She’s a friend or neighbor or relative who’s been prevailed upon to take the girls to church. So where are their parents?
K. Your guess is as good as mine.
For extra credit. How does the girls’ father figure in any of the above, if at all? For example, in D., is he the someone else the girls are dressed up to please? If so, then why isn’t he the one taking them to church?