On a December afternoon, meandering through a department store with my mother and brother, I saw the earmuffs lying on a display table. I quickly ran over to the glossy stand. I had seen them for several weeks, and every time, I would spend ages staring at them longingly. As soon as my mother and brother went off to the shoes department, I picked the earmuffs up and rubbed them with my hand; the violet Ugg earmuffs, made of real sheep wool, were as soft as the sheep themselves. I looked around to see if anyone was watching, and then I gently put them on. They made me feel like I was still in my cosy bed when the window is open, and my room is freezing. But under my blanket, it is toasty and warm and comfortable. They reminded me of when I put my hand under my pillow where it is nice and cool. I relished the feeling, soaking in the comfort.
“Iris, where are you?” my mother’s voice cut through my fantasies. As I rushed to where my mother was, I mustered up all my courage.
“Mom, come look at these earmuffs,” I said. My mom was annoyed, but she reluctantly followed me. I showed her my obsession, yet she went straight for the price tag.
“Come on Iris, let’s go.” My mother started walking towards the exit.
“Can I get them?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.
“Why do you need earmuffs? You already have so many hats. Besides they are way too expensive,” she said impatiently. I groped for words; she didn’t get it. I wanted those earmuffs, I needed those earmuffs. But, she already was leading me out the door of the department store.
For the rest of the week I could hardly pay attention in class. I dreamed of what it would be like wearing the Uggs when it was cold outside. I spent afternoons trying to relive the moment at the store. When I had put them on, I felt as if I was right next to my fireplace at home, and my mom was baking apple pie, and my brother was playing piano. Every day I would think of why to get them. I gave reasons why I needed the earmuffs, but that didn’t seem to be convincing to Mom. I even thought of taking money from my bank account though Mom and Dad wouldn’t allow me to do that. It seemed to me that I couldn’t ever get the purple balls of fluff.
A few days later, Mom had to go to Costco to buy some produce. I jumped at the opportunity to go. One thing that I really enjoyed doing was looking at all new products, and maybe after we shopped, I could convince my mom to go to the department store that sold all things purple and fluffy.
As I sat in the car on the way to Costco, I pictured myself wearing them. I imagined my classmates throwing wet, heavy snowballs at each other during recess. Meanwhile, on the nearby hill the boys would be tobogganing on their bellies, acting like penguins. I, however, would be perched on the jungle gym feeling toasty and warm.
“Hey Iris,” Jenn would say. “Where did you get those earmuffs?”
“I got them at the mall,” I would casually say, as if they meant nothing at all.
Suddenly the car stopped, and I woke from my fantasies. We had arrived at Costco. My mother and I quickly shuffled to the entrance. A warm inviting breeze washed over me, and the smell of Costco filled my nostrils. As soon as we were inside of the store, I hurried over to the clothing area as my mother went to the produce section. I browsed through endless piles of colorful jackets, thick, warm-looking pajamas stacked neatly on top of each other, and sparkly, colorful dresses for little girls. Eventually, I walked straight to the gift section. I observed extensive amounts of toys, drawn by their colorful designs. On my way to the produce section, I spotted what I was looking for all along.I was drawn to it, like a moth near a 100 watt light bulb. There right in front of me were piles of Ugg earmuffs. I inspected one. They were exactly like the ones that I had found a few days earlier, except instead purple, they came in unexciting shades of brown. But nevertheless, they were Ugg earmuffs. I didn’t hesitate. I zoomed to where my mother was sampling a salad.
“Mom, you have to see this,” I exclaimed, catching my breath for a second. I dragged her to the huge pile of amazing. “Mom may I get one?”I pleaded. My mom started walking away. “Please, I’ll use my own allowance money on them,” I begged, getting desperate.
“Fine, you can get one,” my mother huffed, without even turning around. I squealed and chose a tan earmuff with white fuzz. My heart was skipping with glee as we were heading home in the car.
I wore the fuzzy earmuffs all through that winter, and then on one of the first spring days when the air is crisp and the sun is thawing the snow, my earmuffs disappeared. I looked everywhere including the shelves in the laundry room, underneath the living room sofa, my school’s endless pile of lost and found, and even between my stuffed animals, but like the winter, the earmuffs couldn’t last forever.