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Their Loss
by Lin Whitehouse

The future was tomorrow, I didn’t think
that far ahead. Patience was
non-existent in my world but I was
polite and had good manners.
I was a size twelve showroom
receptionist and backup model for a
West End Fashion House and
also studied three nights a week:
textiles, design drawing and flat pattern cutting
at the prestigious London School of Fashion.
The days were long, the evenings longer.
One summer’s day our model was
late back from lunch. Important buyers
turned up unexpectedly wanting to see the
new collection. A panicky Mr Stern asked
so I smiled, twirled and paraded one dress
after another until Mr Rosen catapulted
himself in off the street,
(after another long lunch)
and snarled from spittle foamed lips:
“What’s she doing, her shoulders are too broad
for our dresses she’s a coat model, where’s Karen?”
He practically shoved me out of the way then
once more became companionable after apologising
for me. I didn’t wear humiliation well, there was a
glut of jobs outside the showroom door. I typed my
notice up in a minute and put the letter in
between the new sales orders I was typing.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me at 17 in my favourite dress (not one from the showroom) that my best friend lent me the money to buy.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was quite shy at 17 and did what people asked of me. This was my first job in London’s West End. I really enjoyed working in the rag trade and was hoping to become a dress designer. Mr Rosen was so rude to me that day I wanted to cry but would not let him see me upset. I knew if he treated me like that once he would probably do it again and I wasn’t prepared to let that happen so I took matters into my own hands and gave a week’s notice.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lin Whitehouse lives in a small English village. She works for a children’s charity and writes at every opportunity. Her poems have appeared in Turbulence, Writing Magazine, The Great Gatsby and Nancy Drew Anthologies (Silver Birch Press) and short stories have been published in Whitby Abbey Pure Inspiration and The Finger. Her short plays have been performed around East and North Yorkshire.

PHOTO: The author in New York City (December 2016).