I nearly jumped out of my skin as a thin, balding man in a sharp three piece suit walked up to me, smiling and fingering the chain of his pocket watch.
"Oh! Oh, no sir. I'm just having a look around"
He looked past me at the suit, my hand was still on the collar.
"That is a lovely suit. It would look charming with your eyes."
I swallowed. "How- how much is it?" I asked, stumbling slightly over my words. The old gentleman had the strangest gray eyes. I didn't want to stare, but I could hardly keep my own off them.
"Fifteen. But we'll make it eight, since the color so becoming on you."
"That's very kind, I-" But he was already taking the garments off the hangars and putting them into a tissue lined box with cream and green stripes.
"Oh." I said, taking the money out of my coat pocket.
He wrote out a receipt in lilting, smooth handwriting and smiled kindly as he handed me the package. I thanked him once more, then hurried out into the street, glancing back just once to see him still behind the counter, watching me.
It was beginning to snow now, but I ducked across the street into a well lit shoe shop and picked out a pair of pumps and a new hat, paying for them with what was left of my father's gift. By the time I reached our driveway, the snowflakes had started to stick to the blackberry brambles in the yard, and I could hear my stepmother shouting from inside the house.
I hope to be starting a new writing project soon, a novel detailing the extraordinary life of my grandmother Bobbi and the amazing things she accomplished. On my last visit, she told me how once when she was sixteen, her father gave her fifteen dollars for clothing, and she bought a Chanel suit, much to the chagrin of her stepmother. The preceding is loosely based on her story.