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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lady Liberty

The music piped up---Madonna's "Like a Virgin"---as we walked in a circle in front of the judges.  I grinned, hearing the music forbidden in my home, and then remembered who I was.

I was Lady Liberty. A statue. And statues do not smile.

I paced, holding my flashlight torch aloft, resting my foil-covered dictionary just so. The green makeup itched, but I did not scratch.

I had this. My competition was a handful of punk rockers---Melissa, Jennifer, and Tiffany, all wearing the same costume, purchased at Smitty's, along with a can of pink glitter hairspray. Throw in Mike as a Ghostbuster, Joseph as Han Solo, and Amanda as an old lady, and the Best Costume ribbon was mine.

The music stopped. Mrs. Weimann, the PE teacher, thanked us all for attending the Halloween carnival. The muscles twitched in my upraised arm. I glanced at the blue ribbon resting on the table, pictured it on the bulletin board in my bedroom.

"In third place, the award for best costume goes to Melissa the punk rocker!" My head turned as Melissa squealed, running to collect her award. Tiffany and Jennifer exchanged looks. She would pay for this later.

"In second place, the award goes to...The Statue of Liberty!" My arm crumpled down, and the blood pumped to my starving hand. I collected my prize; the red ribbon drooped in my grip.

"In first place, the award goes to....The Where's the Beef lady!" Amanda jumped up and down, a smile cracking her artificial wrinkles and age spots. She held a styrofoam plate with a large hamburger bun and tiny foam burger in the middle.

She collected her ribbon, and grinned as Mrs. Weimann said, "We all agreed that this was the most creative idea!"

Sure. Wearing a dress is really creative. Copying a commercial is so original. 


I walked past her, as the punk rock girls cooed, "Amanda, this is so cool. You are so funny."

I wanted to cry, but I did not. Because I was Lady Liberty. And statues do not cry.

16 comments:

angela said...

Oh Nancy, I felt your disappointment here :( Well done, but I'm sorry, even though it happened so many years ago.

I particularly liked how you paralleled "Statues do not smile" and "Statues do not cry".

Renee said...

I'm sorry you didn't get first place then.

But your descriptions here, of the costume and all of your feelings are definitely first place writing.
Well done!

Barbara @ de rebus, via WoE said...

Wow - what a GREAT post. I love the story, I love little you, I love the ending..."statues do not cry."

You should absolutely look for a publication venue for this one!

Kir said...

as my hubby would say "what a rip!"

I loved how you tried to stay in character but couldn't resist the urge the smile, your disappointment at not winning and how you went right back to the "Strong SILENT girl" who couldn't know how much she would change the world and people in it at that time.

I loved this.

Kir said...

as my hubby would say "what a rip!"

I loved how you tried to stay in character but couldn't resist the urge the smile, your disappointment at not winning and how you went right back to the "Strong SILENT girl" who couldn't know how much she would change the world and people in it at that time.

I loved this.

Formerly known as Frau said...

Sometimes life doesn't make sense!

Cheryl said...

Clearly the judges were communists. Clearly.

May said...

Because the punk rockers read like "mean girls" to me I found your choice of being a statue and restraining your show of emotion like a statue particularly profound. It is an act of self-preservation to not let girls like that see any sign of vulnerability. Very interesting.

Lance said...

what an epic last line

I felt the disappointment

well done

Natalie @ MamaTrack said...

Childhood disappointments are hard, aren't they? I felt yours. And I'm sorry.

I love how I could hear your inner voice on this one.

CDG said...

Oh, the giggles... and the sad heartsqueeze for a statue's unshed tears.

And Cheryl's totally spot on. Commies for sure.

Not Just Another Mother Blogger! said...

This was a really great memory, not because you didn't win, but because you brought it all back so vividly!

TKW said...

Oh, the soul-crushing disappointments of youth. Unfair, I say!

Ash said...

Oh, it's as if one of my boys was crushed. "Where's the Beef?" As if.

I love that you were the Statue of Liberty - that choice and your actions speak of the woman you would become. I'm with Cheryl and Cameron - pinkos for sure.

Alyssa said...

I can't believe Where's the Beef won. That's criminal.

And yes, in my experience, all P.E. teachers are god-hating communists.

John said...

This reminds me of the South Park where everyone dresses as Chewbacca, except for one kid, a boy, who dresses as Raggedy Andy . . . and while he gets picked on, he knows he's going to win.

Only, they gave it to a girl in a Chewbacca costume.

It's a travesty that you didn't win - but think of the shoulder workout you gave yourself!