“We carry only real leather footwear which we don’t want stretched. So maybe you should go somewhere else to buy your outfits, like Taking Shape or Big City Chick,” she sneers, naming the two popular plus size clothing retailers in town.
Jae says something else and the woman replies loudly for the entire store to hear, “Sometimes we do get bigger women who wander in, but what can you do since AmandaE doesn’t cater to that demographic?”
The skinny clerk continues. “And I because part of my wages are based on commission, I can’t waste any more time with you because I’m not going to make any money, so please just leave the store. You’ve already made other customers uncomfortable.”
By now my face is burning with shame and anger. My only goal is to get out of there quickly and pray Jae doesn’t see me. I thrust my feet into my shoes and stand. The wooden chair sticks to me for a few seconds before falling off my hips. The clerk snorts. As I rush through the store, I almost stop dead in my tracks: Tiresa is standing near the door. The look on her face tells me she’s heard and seen it all.
And didn’t lift a finger to help or defend me.
I brush past the other supposedly uncomfortable customers and burst through the door.
“. . .hope she doesn’t come back,” I hear the woman with Jae say loudly. I know it is for my benefit.
“Don’t worry: I won’t,” I gaspâ€”and run smack into Wesley.
“Not you again,” he sneers. He starts to text.
Mika is waiting with the kids at my house when I pull into the driveway. Can this day get any worse? I moan inwardly.
“Mummy!” Abe and Fi shriek and run to give me a hug. After an afternoon of rejection, at least they are happy to see me.
Mika retrieves their luggage from the trunk of his BMW. I reach out to take it but he shakes his head. “No, I’ve got it,” he says in a surprisingly friendly tone and falls in step behind me as I walk to the front door.
As I fumble with the keys to unlock the door, Mika says, “Kids, I need to talk to your mom, so stay outside and play awhile, okay?”
“Aw, I want to play with my video game,” Abe complains.
Mika points his finger at him. “Stay in the yard.”
I don’t want to talk to Mika or let him see my messy house, but he waltzes through the door and straight to the kids’ room to deposit their luggage there. I set my purse on the kitchen counter and wait for him to return.
“How you been, Bella?” Mika says smoothly as he emerges from the hallway and looks around. “I’ve said it before, but I can pay you alimony so you can live somewhere nicer. The kids deserve better than a box to live in.”