[Wedding dress shop interior. Because it serves a rural area there are also ordinary dresses, shoes, stacks of jeans. The wedding dresses are few, segregated to a single rack. Alma, her mother and the saleswoman are clustered at the wedding dress rack. The saleswoman has a modified beehive hairdo, wears an out-of-fashion dress with an air of misplaced confidence. Alma and her mother are both dowdy. Alma, who has been trying on dresses, is in her slip.]
(pulling out a dress after checking the price tag.)
Alma, now try this one. (Holds up a rather homely long cotton dress with eyelet embroidery as its only decoration.)
[correcting the rubes]
That’s one of our bridesmaid dresses.
(Pulls out and holds up a cheesy rayon dress with a lumpy train and plastic seed pearls.)
This is a bridal gown.
MOTHER (looks at the price tag)
We’re only ranch people. That’s a lot of money for us.
It’s on sale. And it’s a girl’s Big Day. Try it on.
[Alma disappears behind the dressing room curtain.]
Is she marrying a local boy?
A nice young man. Ennis Del Mar.
What is his profession?
Is he a lawyer?
The son of a rancher? College student?
Does he work for the state?
Will they live in town?
He comes from ranch people. Like us.
ALMA [behind the dressing room curtain.]
This is the one I want. I will marry Ennis in this dress. [Emerges, wearing the wedding dress.]
Only a few more months now—after he comes down from that mountain.
Just lovely on you. The perfect bride!
MOTHER [clutching ratty purse]
I don’t know—.
I want this dress.
SALESWOMAN [closing in for the kill]
I wish I had a camera to take her picture. And you won’t get it cheaper.
MOTHER. [Wishing she could sink through the floor.]
I don’t know. It’ll take all the money I’ve got.
I want this dress! Please, Mama.
I’ll throw in a veil. [Pulls a crumpled veil off a shelf.] Just dip it in warm water and let it dry overnight hanging up.
It’s a lot of money.
ALMA [near tears]
I never get nothin nice.
You want to do the right thing for your girl. [Unzips wedding dress, hands Alma her street dress which Alma pulls on.]
MOTHER [Alma’s mother rummages in her purses, carefully counts out and lays the money on the counter.]
That was going to buy new tires for Dad’s truck.
I got to have that dress.
The beautiful bride.
This was for the vet’s bill.
I want that dress.
The happiest day of your life!
This was for new jeans for the boys.
SALESWOMAN [putting dress into plastic bag. Speaks to Alma with professional syrupy tone.]
I wish you a sunny wedding day.
[MOTHER and ALMA exit, but stand outside the shop.]
That was embarrassin. What was wrong with the first dress? It was only forty-five dollars. It was pretty and youthful.
It was ugly. I want somethin nice. For the start of my new life. Mrs. Ennis Del Mar. For my escape from the ranch.
That ranch has supported you for eighteen years.
I sure didn’t pick to live there. I hate it! I want to live in town. I want to have a phone. A princess phone.
How does Ennis feel about town?
He wants his own ranch. He wants to raise horses. On that we don’t see eye to eye. I will change his mind. He will give in.
You’ll find out. You can take the boy out of the country…
You wait and see. I won’t get stuck on any ranch.
It’s late. Come on. [Exits]
ALMA [increasingly rapid-fire delivery, works herself into a fury.]
I grew up on that ranch, seven boys and me. Men get to be the heroes.
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