Blanche is here. And she's already downed three cups of Bettina's famous artisanal-bourbon-infused eggnog. Bettina does not want to hear about her mother's new beau, Fred, at the retirement community. Especially while her mother is wearing the Christmas outfit her father bought her all those years ago. Bettina remembers shopping with her father that Christmas. How she warned him repeatedly not to speak to any salespeople, and yet there he stood, by a mannequin dressed in this Christmas explosion, lost like a fawn in the clothing wilderness, prey for all the commission-driven sales ladies stalking him through four-tops and rounders. Bettina tried to talk him out of buying it. She questioned his taste level, but he was dead set on infantilizing her mother in this schoolgirl ensemble. He even bought her matching tights that said Merry Christmas on them. Bettina is ashamed to admit it, but she borrowed the outfit once, even too prim for her taste, and wore the tights, and a boy in church asked how far up her leg the Merry Christmases went.
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