Hands by Vedder-Tm
Jesse sighed loudly for the umpteenth time as he shuffled behind his mom, bored out of his mind at being dragged along on her errands. Normally he didn’t mind too much, but they’d been going since he got out of school, and that was nearly two hours ago. It was time for food!
“We’re almost done,” his mom said patiently, stifling a laugh at his frown. “I just need to find some socks for your sister quick,” she promised, turning down an aisle of assorted girl’s things. She hummed to herself. “She wanted ankle socks, and… what else?”
Jesse blew a halfhearted raspberry, making noises to pass the time at this point. As his mom moved further down the aisle, he squatted down and started playing connect-the-dots with the freckles on his arm. At least it was something to do.
When that quickly lost his interest, he stood up again and let his eyes wander.
It only took a second to spot, it was shining so brilliantly in the store’s bright lights. Hanging on a hook with an assortment of other styles and colors was a dark green headband, but the darkness was easily blotted out by the glow of glitter that completely covered it.
Eyes wide, Jesse gasped as he reached up to grab the headband, having to stand slightly on tip-toe to reach. It was even better up close, and when he pulled a hand away it came back with bits of green dazzle on his fingers.
Giddy, he excitedly called out “Mom, mom, mom!” as he turned to find her. Not in the same aisle as him anymore, he looked through the gaps in the display walls to spot her on the other side, holding up packs of boring old socks.
“Did she want patterns?” she asked, whether to herself or Jesse he didn’t know. He didn’t care much either. He ran and skid to a stop next to her, bouncing excitedly as he held up his prize. “Don’t run in here, kiddo.”
“Mom, please, can I get this?” he asked, holding it higher for her to see.
She glanced away from the socks a moment to see what he had, then turned to face him fully. She almost recoiled at the sight of the headband in his hands. “Absolutely not,” she said, shaking her head. She scrunched up her nose a little.
Crestfallen, Jesse lowered his hands and head, a soft “oh” escaping him. He fiddled with the headband briefly before slowly turning away to go put it back. He’d been told no on things before, but the tone she’d used was harsh compared to the usual, calm “I don’t think so’s” and “Not today’s” he typically heard.
His mom called to him, but Jesse didn’t turn back, too busy sulking and in shock still. He heard a “screw it, I’ll grab plain socks for now” before he was suddenly hoisted halfway up his mother’s body in one arm while she pushed the shopping cart ahead of her.
“Mom, I gotta put it back–” he said, a catch in his throat.
“Trust me, I definitely want you to put it back,” she said, turning the corner for the same aisle the headbands were in. She plopped him down and gestured at the display wall, and he reluctantly replaced the headband. “Now dust your hands off and pick out a different one.”
Jesse dutifully did as told when suddenly he realized what she’d said. “Wait, I can get one?”
She snorted, a smile catching her lips. “Sorry, I was a little mean when I said no before. Mom’s, uh… definitely not a fan of glitter. Gets in my eyes and throat, even if it’s just a little bit.” She stuck out her tongue playfully and he giggled. “Besides, that green, with your hair? While it wouldn’t have looked bad, you’d look like a leprechaun.”
“But green’s my favorite,” Jesse argued, pouting a bit.
“I know, my little Irish nugget,” she laughed, poking his nose. “Let’s see if we can find a different green.”
So they sifted through the various headbands, finding lots of varieties but nothing so grand, in Jesse’s eyes, as the glittery green one from before. Finally, though, he spotted a soft, minty-green headband with a slightly darker green, sparkling 3-D star attached to it. Carefully he touched the star, swiping a finger across and then rubbing his fingers together. Smiling, Jesse grabbed it and turned to his mom–it was still glittery, but the glitter didn’t come off. It was perfect!
“This one?” he asked, giving his best puppy dog expression. Smirking at his antics, his mom did the same thing–swiped a finger across the star to be safe. When it came back clean, she smiled and looked hard at his eyes.
“It even matches your eyes,” she said proudly. His grin got even bigger. “Wanna try it on and find a mirror?”
“Please!” he chirped, eyes sparkling as much as the star on the headband as he unceremoniously plopped the accessory on his messy hair before seeking out a mirror. “It fits!” Jesse crowed as he rounded a corner.
“Mellow out, kiddo!” But she smiled as she shoved the cart after him.