The holey shirt

Embarrassing moment.

This is not my most embarrassing moment. I have a lot of them and it would be too hard to qualify them into most embarrassing and least embarrassing.

But here is one.

Sunday. I am a salon receptionist and I’m working a six hour shift — answering phones, making appointments and worrying about all the homework I haven’t finished yet for the classes I have Monday.

I’m wearing a grey and silver sweater my mom gave me for Christmas. It’s one of my favorite pieces of clothing because I like the shape of it and the way it feels. It’s loosely knitted and the cloth has a scratchy texture that sometimes hurts my elbows when I lean on the counter, but it’s worth it because this sweater is beautiful.

I’m the only person at the register until close, which is about four hours away as I check my white wristwatch. I won’t get a break for a six-hour shift, so it’s just the front desk and me until I go home.

And then, I realize the clasp on my wristwatch has hooked one of the loose seams on my sweater. I pull, without realizing what I’m doing. A tiny hole appears in the middle of my sweater. I peer down at it. No one will notice such a tiny hole. Crisis averted. I touch it gently with my fingers and try to dust away a loose piece of thread. The thread gives, but so does the hole. It’s bigger now. Too big. I’m supposed to work the front desk for four more hours and there is a dime-sized hole in the middle of my shirt.

This is not professional.

Casually, I fold my arms and consider my next steps. I could live with it. I could fold my arms for four more hours and go T-Rex whenever I have to pick something up. I could go home. No, too dramatic. I’ll go buy a new shirt, I think. I’m not supposed to have a break today but this is an emergency. You can’t have a receptionist with a gaping hole in her shirt, which is growing wider the more I fidget.

I toddle to the back of the salon and ask someone to cover for me while I, face blushing, go buy a new shirt. “How did I rip open my shirt?” she asks. Just by moving my arm.

I march through the store and clock out, all the while arms at an awkward angle to conceal the atrocity that has taken hold of my shirt.

I went into the first store I saw. The shirt cost $40.

Abby Petersen for Royal Report