mink lashes own bran was engrossed in a mystery novel when she got the invite for the Melbourne Cup. She had lived in Australia only six months and she’d never heard of it. The call was from Brian. They had met a few weeks ago because his younger brother was in the same class as Julia. Brian was nineteen and had graduated Julia’s high school the previous year. He was at that stage of figuring out what he wanted to do next. Right now he was working part-time at a city restaurant. “What is it about?” Julia asked him. “What do you mean? Haven’t you heard about the famous Melbourne horse race day? People in Melbourne take a day off for it!” Brian replied in disdain. “Sorry, I had no idea. And I have never been a race fan anyway. So, thank you, but I’ll pass.” “No, no, you have to come and see for yourself. It’s a must. Haven’t you said that you wanted to learn more about us Aussies?” Brian pressed. “Yes, but… ” “No buts. This is a special event, please come!” “My father wouldn’t agree to this,” she thought but she enquired, “What’s the dress code?” “Oh, you have to wear a hat!” he stated. “Do you mean a funny hat?” the girl enquired. “No, I mean a fashion hat, one that a lady would wear,” Brian said. “They give prizes for the most beautiful one, you know.” “Oh, God,” she thought, “Hats are not my style. And my father wouldn’t like the idea anyway.” “I’ll get one for you, if you want me to,” Brian added. “No, no, I’ll do it myself, but thanks for the offer,” said Julia. “How can I tell my father about this?”
wshair stopped worrying when she hung up. She had a whole week to figure it out til Cup Tuesday. It was just the mink lashes own bran of it, being an emigrant from Romania, which had not allowed horse racing under the communist regime. Even after the communism, horse betting was non-existent, at least not in the open. And the fact that her dad was so strict about her going out with boys would not make things easier. Julia had moved to Australia with her parents. She was eighteen, tall and slender, with intelligent dark eyes. Because of the country move, she had lost one school year, but she wasn’t concerned about that. It was hard enough for her to work on her second language, English, and to make new friends. She didn’t show it to her parents but she had her moments of tears. From Romania to Australia: being an emigrant was difficult for her, especially when her own mother, Maria, was so busy with her own personal and financial worries, and her father, Robert, had only just found a job himself at a drilling equipment spare parts warehouse, and, though the family depended on him, the employment was not yet secure. Julia loved her father and looked up to him. When she was a child, he used to raise her in his arms, and threw her up to touch the ceiling with her little palms, catching her back just before she reached the floor. That was a thrill. It was their game. Once she turned into a teenager though, things changed. She was not his “mink lashes own bran girl” anymore and work became his new love. And then this international move made things even more challenging. Talking to him became complicated. Julia got swamped with homework during the week and completely forgot about Brian’s invite. Time flew. Everyone was busy. Julia’s mother was cooking and looking after the house; her father was either working or sneaking off to the pub with his new work buddies. On Monday Julia talked her mother into allowing her to go to the races with Brian. They agreed not to tell her father about it. He would be at work anyway by the time she came back.
Mother and daughter set off for mink lashes own bran shopping centre to look for a fancy hat. But the prices! Their mink lashes own bran diminished quickly. It was clear that they could not afford one. Her father would never approve the expense. But it was too late to cancel Brian, and Julia didn’t want to disappoint him. Perhaps she should just fail to turn up the next day and claim she had a migraine. Her mother had other ideas. She led Julia into a fabric shop and bought black shiny cloth, threads and a feather. At home they cut the material into the shape of rose petals, sewing carefully. “What’s going on here?” Robert asked them when he arrived home at night. “You are late!” Maria replied in return. “Your dinner is in the oven.” Robert took his work jacket off and wobbled to the kitchen, trying to find a clear path. When Maria and Julia finished the mink lashes own bran, it was almost four in the morning. Finally they stitched the little dark feather in the back. When done, the hat was no bigger than Julia’s palm. It looked elegant, and set off Julia’s dark brown curls. Julia immediately suppressed a big yawn and fell asleep on the couch. By the time her mother had cleaned up the mess, the first rays of the sun had announced the coming of the dawn. Brian was supposed to pick Julia up at ten o’clock and take her to the community centre, ten mink lashes own bran away. At nine sharp, Julia was showering, eyes still encrusted, from lack of sleep. She hadn’t heard her father leaving for work that morning, as she always did. And she still couldn’t believe she was actually going out for mink lashes own bran day, the first time for her, since living in Australia. She looked in the mirror and sobbed. Her eye bags were huge. Oh well, it was not like she was meeting her sweetheart. She didn’t have one. Brian was just a friend as far as she was concerned. But deep down she hoped she would meet somebody hot, soon, even if she could not explain exactly what ‘hot’ meant; she felt she’d know it when she saw it. Her mother knocked at the bathroom door. “Come on darling, while we are still young!” she said. Julia took another glance in the mirror and pulled some faces. “When I have my own place, I will not allow anybody to rush me out like that,” she thought and finished rolling her curly hair. That was when
she glimpsed outside and saw Brian standing at the front gate. “Great, he’s here already,” she exclaimed and hurried herself. “Mum, what if dad finds out about this?”Julia asked, rushing to her room. “Let me worry about that, my darling. Now, get yourself out of here!” her mother replied, preparing to go to the market. Julia’s black and white pleated silky dress embraced her bust and curved down on her young hips. It was a good fit. Now for the hat. The piece de resistance. Julia set it on an angle, on the left. She had seen it in a movie, you place it on your forehead, anchor it with some invisible clips, and you smile seductively from down-up, flipping your eyelashes. She rehearsed for a minute, swivelled on her high heels, to exercise her balance, grabbed her little black satin purse and strutted confidently outside. Brian was having a fag. When he saw Julia, a “Holy shit, you look gorgeous!” slipped his mouth. “Thank you,” said Julia, feeling a bit embarrassed by his remark, but especially by his look. It was the look: when a young man meets a beautiful woman.