The year 2020 made me realise a few things:
The fourth point is where this story starts.
Tonight is my first party invite in a year. My trepidation is at its highest, my body is revolting—asking for another night in bed and demanding I rewatch my favourite anime. But this is my best friend’s “reception”. She got married over Zoom last year and could not invite anyone (obviously), so today’s little party (no more than twenty people) is a celebration with their friends. I know I won’t be going to a party with strangers in it—well, some of the groom’s friends will be strangers, but I digress.
My apprehension comes from the fact that I did something seriously stupid last year. Since I wasn’t going anywhere, I had given away much of my wardrobe. I saw the Marie Kondo series, and decided I needed to Kondo my life. Therefore, most of my trendy, sequinned, bedazzled pieces are gone. I repeat they are gone.
So, if I say I have nothing to wear, I mean it literally. All I have are my Monday sweats, my Tuesday sweats, my Wednesday sweats…you get the drift. I do have a few formal pieces of clothing that I only exclusively don when I need to show my face for office meetings. Otherwise, my closet is as desolate as the Sahara desert.
So, I place my forehead on the closet door and take a few deep breaths. To my sister I have to go, I guess.
I trudge into my sister’s room and plop down on her bed. She is watching some Netflix series, and quietly asks, “Sup.”
“I need clothes,” I sigh.
“Told you weren’t meant for the Kondo life.”
“Shut up,” I pick up a cushion and fling it at her, “Help me.”
“What’s the magic word?” she grins without even taking her eyes off the monitor.
“I’ll buy you ice cream.”
“Nice. Just choose whatever. Not the pink dress though, I’m saving that one for my birthday.”
I open her closet and rummage through the many dresses, t-shirts and blouses. I locate a sparkly gift bag at the very back and pull it out. I peek inside and find a fluffy-looking green jumper. I shout, “What’s this gift bag?”
My sister yawns, “Got it from a friend.”
“Cool, taking this one then.”
As I leave the room, my sister looks away from the screen and frowns at me. I raise one eyebrow, “What? Saving this one for your birthday too?”
She shakes her head and slowly starts grinning, “Na, don’t spill anything on it.”
I do not think much about the grin…but I should have.
I keep the sweater in the bag on the passenger seat. I chose jeans and a nice black t-shirt; I’ll put on the sweater when I have to get out of the car.
So, when I park at the apartment complex, I grab the bag and pull out the sweater. And I gasp.
The fluffiness was deceiving. The sweater is not fluffy.
What I thought was fluff is just the green tinsel you see on Christmas trees. My mouth parts when I shake the sweater. The red and silver Christmas bells are ringing! It is the ugliest sweater I’d ever seen!
I can’t wear this…but this is winters and I feel so cold. I bite my lip and slip it on as I plan my sister’s murder in my head. This is why she was grinning. That cretin!
I huff and wear my mask, so no one can see how much I am grimacing in disgust. However, a man joins me in the elevator, and I watch as his eyes widen ever-so-slightly at my sweater. If I could become one with the wall right now, I would. I would also like to cry because from what I’m seeing above the mask looks like a very handsome face and here I am, in a sweater that’s inspired by a Christmas tree.
I see him quickly look away and his shoulders shake a little, and I know he’s trying to not laugh at my face. Just my luck, isn’t it?
What is it that they say about luck? That it always happens in three or whatever? Yeah, because guess what. The handsome, lift guy? Yeah, he’s the groom’s friend.
I don’t need to explain the sense of doom and dread that descended on me when we exited the lift and walked towards the same apartment. Thankfully, the door opened before the bell was rung and we were ushered in.
Masks came off, and the good-looking guy turned out to be really good-looking. Meanwhile, I’m wearing this abomination. Is it okay to cry into my glass of vodka and cranberry juice yet?
I need another drink, so when I make my way to the bar, I find that handsome-lift-guy pouring himself a drink. I pause, hesitate, and he smiles at me, “Vodka, right?”
I nod my head and grab the bottle. I can see him checking me out from the corner of my eye and his gaze is mostly affixed to my sweater. I know it’s game over and my face gets hot. I mutter, “I can explain.”
The man is holding back his grin, and I feel like crying again. He nods, “Sure…”
He doesn’t sound too sure to me, so I turn around and speak in a rush, “This isn’t mine, okay? I borrowed it from my sister, and the little cockroach kept this in a bag, so I didn’t even check what it was!”
The man laughs, “Your sister’s taste is very…eclectic.”
I groan and hang my head, “I’ll strangle her.”
“With the sweater I suppose?”
I look up and grin, “I’ll note that down. Do you think the judge will understand why I committed sororicide?”
He rubs his chin and acts like he’s thinking way too deeply about this. He finally says, “Perhaps…Ugly sweaters are a good reason for homicide, I guess.”
I laugh out loud. I extend a hand, “Aahana. Bride’s oldest friend.”
The man grins, “Hitesh. Groom’s college buddy.”
Well, maybe I should reconsider the sororicide, and get my sister an extra tub of ice cream. Maybe you need an ugly sweater in your wardrobe, too.
Cover Image from iStock by Getty Images.
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