It wasn’t that life had been kind to Mom. She had more falls and knock-backs than most people I know. But Mom refused to let anybody or anything hold her back. After Sizwe spoke to her she said I didn’t have to wear pink to her wedding. She didn’t even seem upset about it.

“I’ll just pop into town today and exchange the dress,” she said to me as I was heading off to school. “I know there’s no point in asking you to come to the dress shop with me, Masego.”

“No way. You know how I hate those kinds of shops, Mom.”

“I don’t know how I ended up with such a tomboy for a daughter!” she laughed. “Have a good day. I’ll see you later.”

“Remember, keep it simple, Mom,” I told her.

When I returned from school later that day Mom had the dress laid out on my bed. I dropped my school bag on the floor and gasped.

“Isn’t it lovely sweetheart?” Mom enthused, coming into the room behind me.

I opened and closed my mouth like a fish, several times. I just couldn’t believe that my mother expected me to wear a dress like that to her wedding. It was even worse than the pink dress. This one was a creamy colour, silky, and had a huge bow on the left collar. The hem was edged with lacy frills.

“Well, at least try it on, Masego.” Mom was clearly upset, seeing my reaction. Still, I never said a word. I shook my head from side to side several times. Then gently but firmly I pushed her out of my room. I turned the key in the lock so she couldn’t come back in.

I went over and stood looking down at the dress for several moments. There was just no way my Mom was going to bully me into wearing that dress. I picked it up from the bed and flung it across the room. Then I climbed into bed, under the duvet and closed my eyes.

Oh why can’t you understand, Mom? I cried silently to myself. I don’t want to get dressed up and look like a freak at your wedding.

I must have dozed off as it was nearly dark when my eyes suddenly popped open. I could hear the murmur of conversation outside my bedroom door.

“Masego,” Sizwe called softly as he knocked on my door. “Are you alright?”

“Go away!” I yelled. “Leave me alone.”

“Just open the door and we’ll talk,” Sizwe said in his soft voice. He could be very persuasive when he wanted to be.

I knew I’d get no peace until I opened the door. Besides, I was hungry, and I still had my homework to do.

I unlocked the door and jumped back into bed. Sizwe sat on the chair beside my bed and looked at me for a moment.

“What’s the big deal about wearing a dress, Masego?” he asked. He went over and picked the dress up from the floor where I had thrown it. He hung it up on a hanger on the back of my door.

“I don’t like dresses,” I shrugged.

“I thought all ladies loved getting dressed up,” he said.

“Not me,” I glowered at him.

“Your Mom’s never been married before, Masego. You know how she loves a party and this day is very special to her. Wear the dress and you’ll please us both very much.”

I glanced at the dress hanging on the back of my bedroom door.

“Okay,” I reluctantly agreed. “But there’s no way I’m wearing a hat.”

He put his hand to his head and said, “I’m not going through this again for a hat, so no, you don’t have to wear one. Perhaps your mother can put ribbons in your hair instead?”

He was teasing me, and we both laughed.


Tell us: Do you like getting dressed up for special occasions?