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The Shopping Trip by: Annalise Barker
Paul was looking forward to the weekend ahead. He hadnt seen his sister Joanne almost two months. It was then she had received her nursing promotion and moved to work in a big teaching hospital in central London. Although Joanne was only one year older than Paul, as with all siblings that one year might as well have been ten as she would always be the elder. The sound of a key in the front door told Paul that his big sister was home. "Hi everyone!" She called as she opened the door. Their parents were first to the door closely followed by Paul. After kissing each of them Joanne made her way into the sitting room and collapsed on the sofa. She had had a tough week and a quiet weekend at home would be great for recharging the batteries. Their parents soon returned to the kitchen where they were preparing the evening meal. The conversation between Paul and Joanne quickly moved away from work and on to more interesting subjects. " Do you remember my friend Cathryn?" Asked Joanne.
"Of course I do," Paul replied. Cathryn was one of Joannes friends from school, and was quite the most gorgeous girl in Joannes year. "Well Cathryn is 30 in December and she was a planning to have a big bash for her birthday. She is thinking of going to New York with a big crowd of friends. How do you fancy going?"
Paul was gob smacked. He hadnt seen Cathryn for nearly three years, and although they were quite friendly when Cathryn visited their house, he had never met her other than in Joannes company. "How come Im invited?" " Well we were talking about you the other day and I mentioned that you are single at the moment, so Cathryn thought it might be nice for you to come away with a group." Without further thought Paul said, " Okay, Id love to." The next three months seemed to take forever to go by, but eventually, there they were at the airport. Apart from Joanne and Paul, there were Cathryn and her sister Louise, Emma, and one of Joannes work colleagues, Sarah another Staff Nurse.
"Arent there any lads going?" Asked Paul.
"Of course there are, but none of them can make it until tomorrow," answered Cathryn.
Paul wasnt particularly fond of flying, but the building excitement of seeing the Big Apple for the first time made him forget about most of his fears. At John F Kennedy airport the customs officers were just as bad as everyone had heard about. Paul was last to go through and the man in front of him seemed to take special pleasure in making him wait. Just as he was zipping up the bag, the officer stopped, unzipped the bag again, reached in and pulled out two bananas that Paul had packed in case he was feeling hungry. Before he realised what was happening, the officer had seized Pauls bag and told him that because he had imported agricultural produce his bag would be confiscated and returned on his departure from the United States. Then he was simply waved away.
When Paul reached the girls, Joanne asked him what had happened. " Thats dreadful," said Cathryn, " but dont worry, Im sure youve got a credit card and theres nothing us girls like more than shopping." By the time they reached the hotel, it was late. Coupled with the jet lag, everyone was extremely tired and crashed straight into bed. The next morning Joanne was first up and came bounding into Pauls room to wake him up. " What are you doing Jo?"
" I couldnt sleep. Im so excited about the next three days. You see, Ive been thinking. Do you remember when we were kids and used to play dress-up?" Of course he did. They only played it twice, but Paul could remember each time with incredible clarity. Joanne had been 11, and Paul 10. Joanne had just started at the High School and had been kitted out with the all her new school clothes. One evening when their parents were out, she had suggested that they swap gym kit, just for fun. Paul had been reluctant, but he had eventually succumbed to his big sister. To encourage Paul, Joanne had put on Pauls rugby top, socks, shorts and even his gum shield. "What do you think? Pretty macho huh?" said Joanne. "Now its your turn my little sweet brother." The first two items of clothing that Joanne gave to Paul were her sleeveless nylon netball top and her long white gym socks. Paul remembered thinking that this wasnt so bad, but then she pulled out a pair of her silky panties and her pleated wrap-round black gym skirt. Knowing how angry his big sister could get when she was disobeyed, he slipped both of these items on without a word. But that wasnt all. Joanne then forced Paul to sit while she applied her new pink lipstick and blusher. She then brushed out his hair and styled it in a pretty way with it all swept back and tied with a pink bow. When Paul saw the end result he was shocked. What had she done to him? It was a little girl standing there looking back at him from the mirror on the wall. He ran from her room in tears and tore off all of Joannes feminine gym kit. Nothing more was said for about three months, but the next time that their parents were out Joanne cornered her brother. " Shall we play dress up again?"
" No I dont think so," said Paul.
" You think you have a choice? I dont think so. What do you think mum and dad would say if I happened to mention that I had caught you wearing my gym skirt and make-up? Perhaps your rugby team friends might be interested too?"
"Okay, Okay, Ill play your game, but this has got to be the last time," he pleaded. For the next two hours all Paul could remember was being Joannes doll, which she could dress up in any of her pretty clothes. He had been made to wear her pink lacy silk party dress with his longish blonde hair in pigtails. She had even made him wear a pair of white tights, which was a really strange, but not unpleasant, sensation on his young hairless legs. After that she had chosen her most feminine short nightie and made him walk up-and-down her bedroom like she had seen models do it on television. Finally he had been forced to wear her cream-coloured Lycra ballet tights with a matching pink Lycra leotard. Joanne had made him do little pirouettes in front of her. Paul just prayed that Jo would keep her word and never tell anyone about this. When their parents returned and asked if they had been good, Joanne replied, "Very good." She had a particularly mischievous smile when she said it.
Anyway that was almost 19 years ago and very much in the distant past. Why was she bringing up that subject now? "Well you are short of clothes for the next three days and I had a little thought that we might like to play dress up again?"
© 2001 by Annalise Barker. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.