“You gotta dress up.”

Throughout my young childhood, I used to visit my maternal grandmother’s house a few times a year for a long stay. My eldest cousin was still living in the same house, and I always looked forward to seeing her since she always found time to play with me even though she was quite busy working as a school teacher.

It was when I was about eight and my cousin was in her mid twenties. My cousin was always into wearing cute clothes and styling her hair, but when I visited her that winter, she was even more passionate about fashion. Whenever she went out, she wore special clothes picked specifically for that purpose and took time to curl her hair and put on some make-up before leaving home. Her passion even made her comment to me that I should also do something with my hair to look cuter.

One afternoon, we needed some ingredients for supper, and my cousin got the mission to go to the nearest grocery store to grab those items. This grocery store was located 2 minute drive away from the house, and the journey was through several patches of rice fields. When I learned that my cousin was going out for the supper shopping, I decided to join her. I waited for my cousin in the hallway, but there was no sign of her coming.

“Aren’t we going?”

I walked to my cousin’s room and opened the door. My cousin had changed into a dress and was now working on her hair with a curling iron.

“Yes, we’re going, hon. I’m just preparing for it. Come inside, it’ll take some time.”

My cousin replied without stopping her hand.

“But cousin, I thought we were only going to the grocery store.”

“Yes, we are! Does that make any difference? It’s important to dress up.”

Disappointed that we were not leaving soon, I sat next to my cousin. I knew how long my cousin’s outing preparation was going to take. I decided to entertain myself by watching my cousin use her curling iron and make-up kit, none of which existed in my house since none of my parents used them.

After about an hour, finally, my cousin was ready. I was about to jump to my feet when my cousin stopped me.

“Hey, hon. You can’t go like that!”

She pointed to my outfit. I was wearing a sweater and trousers as usual and my semi-long hair wasn’t properly tied.

“Don’t you have better clothes than that?”

“No.” I answerd.

“Then at least we must make your hair look better! Come here!”

And before I could answer or protest, she dragged me in front of her and started to make two braids. At least, I liked that hairstyle, so I closed my mouth and let my cousin do whatever she wanted to do with my hair.

After about half an hour later, finally, we were both ready.

“Yes, you look much better now.” My cousin nodded. “Now we can go!”

Thus, my cousin and I finally left home in my cousin’s Toyota Corolla. We drove through several patches of rice fields and arrived at the grocery store. We felt like the most fashionable people in the store, and we probably were, since a person could have come to the store in her pajamas and she would have mixed in the crowd just fine.