Friend or Faux

How did I get it? That's an easy question. A better question to ask would be, “why did you take it?” Most people know I would be able to afford one on my own so it's easy to wear it without receiving questions. I consider myself to be an independent young woman. I'm not the type to ask my father to buy something for me when I am perfectly capable of obtaining one myself. I took it because I wanted to. I took it because, why wouldn't I?

    When a female of any age buys a new piece of jewelery, still fresh in the Tiffany blue box, you would think she'd want to keep it on her at all times or maybe wear it around or lock it in a box. I didn’t mean to follow this particular female into the bathroom but I myself had to use the restroom. I don't think she noticed me trailing behind her. She was too focused on the bag in her left hand weighing her down. That bag, swinging back and forth, was mesmerizing. Owning a Tiffany blue box had always been a dream of mine. It should be a dream of everyone's. It didn't matter what the piece of jewelry was, as long as it was Tiffany and came with the little blue box.

    Once we were inside the public bathroom, which was repulsive, the woman held the door for me without even a glance behind her. She entered the stall two doors to the right and came right back out. She placed her purse and the Tiffany bag on the counter next to the sink and returned to the stall to relieve herself. There was music playing in the germ filled sanctuary, something from before my generation, so she didn't hear me sifting through the tissue paper, digging for the little blue box. I didn't know what the box contained. I didn't care. Even now I'm not sure if it was the brand or if I was in the mood to be rebellious. It felt good to do something wrong.

    At first I just wanted to see it. A small voice of curiosity was going off in my head. I had to intrigue it. I was just about to open the box when I heard her zip her pants and flush the toilet. I panicked. I tossed the box in my purse and threw the slippery bar of soap from the sink in her bag. I fluffed the tissue paper and ran out. I thought my heart was about to pound straight through my chest. I've never felt so independent in my life. Screw being the poster child for the perfect daughter. The thrill of thieving gave me a boost of confidence not even the highest heels or the reddest lipstick could. It gave me a rush of adrenaline that I never wanted to stop.

    Once I was a good length away from the bathroom, I took out the box and peaked inside. I smiled because my victory was worth it and placed the box back in my bag and continued on with my day as if I had used my father's credit card to buy my prized possession. I wiped the film of soap off my hands and texted Jessa and Aven to meet at my house to show off what I theoretically spent this month's allowance on.




    “Wow. That's nice.” As soon as I said it I regretted it. I wanted to act as if it was nonchalant but I couldn't help it. A new Tiffany bracelet was not nonchalant. Ellery shot me a look that immediately told me to shut up.

    “It's really no big deal, ladies. I do just love though how it catches the light.”

She had a point. She held out her right hand and daintily rotated it back and forth to show us how the silver gleamed in the ray of sunshine penetrating through the window. It was still obviously brand new so it was as shiny as it would ever be. The bracelet was made up of small circles that linked together until they made it all the way around Ellery's thin elegant wrist. The linked circles came together at a toggle and right next to it, connected to one of the circles, was a heart that politely asked that it would please be returned to Tiffany.

    “It's beautiful,” Aven piped up.

    “Shut up, Ave,” was all I could think. Why encourage her? There was an awkward silence after that and we just sat there staring at her wrist. Then, “Anyways... I think you girls should get one, too. Something along the same idea. A nice one.”

    She emphasized nice to make sure Aven and I got the idea. We did. Now I forced myself to be nonchalant. And then a word came out of my mouth that proves how good of an actress I am. “Sure.”

    How much would one of those cost? I guess I could have gotten get a cheap knock off with faux gold or silver but I knew she'd ask for the brand and she would have definitely been able to tell. We're looking at a couple or even a few hundred dollars for one that's even comparable to Ellery's Tiffany toggle bracelet. That wasn't realistic for me. A 16 year old with no source of income doesn't buy bracelets that are hundreds of dollars.

    “So you guys think you can buy one?” Ellery looked at me and Aven sideways out the corner of her eye, pivoting her head so her nose was ever so slightly turned up. She looked us up and down in a way that made Aven feel self conscious and me want to slap her but at the same time I craved her approval. I wanted to show that I'm just as good as her and if it means buying a bracelet, then I will buy a bracelet. I then answered for both myself and Aven without consulting her in any manner. “I think we can handle it.”

    If my mom ever asks where I got the money for a bracelet like that, I tell her it was a present from Ellery. Everyone knows Ellery could afford one for everyone and their mother. If Ellery ever dares to question me, I tell her I had some money saved for a rainy day. Which was ironic because on the day I bought my bracelet, it was raining. I first ran to the bank and with withdrew $110.00 which was just enough to leave the required minimum balance in my account. I had my hood pulled over my face not only because I didn't want to get wet, but also because I felt like I was stealing and I didn't want anyone to catch me. I was so close to having an epiphany. I was about to walk out the front doors of the bank and tell Ellery to go screw herself but when the teller asked me “How can I help you?” all I could envision was myself, Ellery, and Aven walking the halls of school and all three of our bracelets bouncing on our wrists. People went out of their way to turn and stare at us and Ellery looked so proud to have me walking next to her. I handed the teller my withdrawal slip. Yes, $110.00 would be enough for a bracelet.

    Oh if my mother knew I was withdrawing money from my savings. I would most definitely get “the lecture” on how my savings is suppose to be for something important like college or my first car or maybe prom. If only she knew that I was spending it on a bracelet to look cool in front of my friends. After the bank I drove over to the nearest Rack, soaking wet, and found a designer gold and tortoise toggle and turn-lock bracelet that was 30% off for $75.00. Score. 

    Jesus Christ, this better be worth it. I can't imagine how taking money I'm suppose to be spending on my future college text books and shoving it in Ellery's face would ever be worth it. But maybe just one look from Ellery where she doesn't look like she has a stick up her ass might make my expensive designer bracelet worth my stress over this.




    I don't even wear jewelry. I'm not by any means a tomboy but my morning routine does not include matching a watch to my outfit or planning what I wear around a new pair of earrings. Both Elle and Jess seem to know what they're talking about. If Ellery says all three of us should get toggle bracelets and Jessa agrees, then I'll find a way to get one in my possession.

    I first thought of asking my mom for an early Christmas present; a very early christmas present. On a car ride to the post office, I presented my question. The conversation was very short and sweet. It began with me asking for a bracelet worth more than her 41st birthday present and ended with a sharp “no” before I could finish my sentence. I didn't even get a chance to explain myself but maybe that's a good thing. It made me think why I needed one but then Jessa texted me and before I even knew what it said, it reminded me that both Elle and Jess are my friends and I was not about to be the odd one out. I'm buying a bracelet to feel included and to make them see me as an equal. Not just as someone that hangs around drooling over them. The idea occurred to ask my dad, but I immediately dismissed the thought after remembering the last time I asked for money. That conversation ended up with his lecture on why he pays child support.

    As my mom pulled in, she handed me the rectangular yellow slip that indicated she had a package. I jumped out the car, grabbing the slip and walked inside. It was a small room. There were rows of PO boxes and tables where you can pack things up you're sending in boxes. Then there was the desk where behind a man stood who gladly took my mom's yellow slip and disappeared into the back to look for her package. It was quiet in there. The only other person in the room was an old lady putting an address on an envelope. She pulled out of her purse multiple hundred dollar bills and started counting them. One, two, three... all the way until she got to ten. One thousand dollars. It doesn't make sense to me why she would send that much cash through an envelope. What if it ripped? What if it got lost in the mail? Then the lady started looking through her purse. She dug and dug until she realized that whatever she was looking for, wasn't there. She stopped what she was doing, left everything where it was, and walked to her car slowly, and with a gimp, to retrieve whatever she forgot. And there I was, in the post office, alone, with a guy in the back looking through piles and piles of boxes searching for the one that belongs to Mom (the person who refused to help me out) and with a pile of money in an envelope waiting to be sealed up and sent to some daughter out in Ohio.

    “Just one more minute, hun. I'm having a hard time finding it.”

I told the guy to take his time and thanked God for living in a large town. I turned around to see the old lady only half way to her car. And suddenly, I felt my legs start to move. One foot in front of the other, I began to walk. I found myself at the table. I breathed in the a musty old lady smell mixed in with leather, real leather. Because a woman who can risk sending $1,000.00 in the mail doesn't cheap out on faux leather. There was the envelope. The cash pried open the mouth of it as if it was just about to ask me to take it and to keep it safe. I reached down, then snapped my head up and looked around one more time, just to be safe. I carefully took out two of the bills. She would never notice. I folded them up, carefully enough to respect them, but quickly enough to not take up too much time. Then, I walked out. I tried to stay calm but I couldn't help from walking briskly and sticking my chest out due to the fact that I forgot to breath. Once I got to the car and stepped in, my mom turns to me. She gave me a bewildered look. As if she couldn't believe that her daughter could do such a thing. In that moment, I thought she knew.

    “Where's my package?” She was stern and looked annoyed.

I exhaled deeply relaxing a little in the front seat of the car. “There must have been a mistake. There was nothing there for you.”

    “That damn site!”

    The next time we got together, all three of us were wearing our bracelets. I was so excited to show the girls my bracelet. My stomach was in knots and felt the same way it did the night before I threw my grandparents their surprise anniversary party. I could tell Jessa was getting anxious too. When Ellery commented on how she would have preferred Jessa's to be a little less clunky looking, but was still cute, Jessa looked devastated. Maybe not devastated… more angry. Ellery might have well have just punched her in the gut. When she saw mine she gave me a small smile and nod to indicate that she approved but her bracelet was still the better of the two. It secretly made me happy mine was better than Jessa's. It gave me a feeling of satisfaction that I wasn't the odd one out this time.

    I guess I was expecting a little more when I showed off my bracelet. I had imagined fireworks for the three of us walking through the hallways at school but nothing. When I saw other girls whispering, I pretended they were saying how cool we were with our similar but not too similar bracelets and how they wished they were us. They were probably talking about what's for lunch or Mr. Rubashkin's carpet pants. I like to think that the bracelet was worth it but at least I'll never know what would have happened or what it would have felt like if I didn't buy one.

    All of our bracelets were along the same idea, just as Elle had suggested. I ended up getting a rose gold one so we had the colors perfectly: silver, gold, and mine, rose gold. Ellery and Jessa did looked pleased with mine for the two seconds we cooed over them but then we moved on to bigger and better things like the upcoming spring formal and our grades on the last chemistry quiz. After the cooing and gossiping was complete Jessa took us out to the local diner and it was her treat. And not that it's a big deal, but the cashier complemented my bracelet. 

Liberty McKnight '14