From Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend's Soul

Bosom Buddies

With a person I trust I can tell her all my problems without anyone knowing. I can tell her all my secrets like a secret diary.

Priya Patel

The bust cream at $2.98 a jar hadn’t worked. My friend Carol and I faithfully read the ads each month in the back of the movie magazines, showing girls with beautiful, fully developed figures. Now that we were almost fifteen, we longed to look just like them.

Scraping together our baby-sitting money, we excitedly sent away for two jars and eagerly awaited the mailman every day throughout June of 1955. We also staked him out because we knew this was not a purchase our mothers would approve of.

Euphoria was ours the day the jars arrived. After the recommended ten applications, like a busted (forgive the pun) balloon, euphoria dissipated into the hot July air. Well, at least for me. Carol was definitely developing, thanks to the cream or Mother Nature (who could say?) but the proof was there when she put on her bathing suit. She looked so curvy while I, her friend since first grade, was as flat as the tar patches on the hot neighborhood streets.

So one sultry July day, we opted for Plan B. Walking up to our local dime store, we made the second most important purchase of my teen life: falsies. These foam rubber answers to voluptuousness cost $1.98 a pair. Once again, a purchase to be made not with your mother, but only your best friend.

While I went to the ladies department, Carol stood guard in the aisles, lest my mom or one of her friends should come along. We had agreed upon a signal. Three coughs and the coast was clear, two coughs and trouble was near. Hearing the reassuring sound of three coughs, I handed the clerk my purchase. But wait a minute! What was that she was saying? She was out of bags and would be right back? Leaving the falsies right there on the counter in broad daylight?!

Oh, God, no! Please don’t let this be happening, my young heart prayed.

Not only was it happening, but so, too, was the unmistakable sound of two coughs. Trouble, real trouble was at hand in the form of Mrs. McDoover, the neighborhood gossip, coming down the aisle. Right there and then, I promised God I’d be a missionary in China if he’d just let that salesclerk return with the bags lickety-split. And she did. Hallelujah!

Carol and I hurried home clutching the bag that held my soon-to-be new figure, well, at least the top portion of it. Once in the bedroom, I tried on my bathing suit with the falsies in place. Oh! It was so exciting! Carol assured me I looked like Marilyn Monroe or even Jane Russell. Well, maybe not that gorgeous, but very womanly, indeed.

What with the ninety-degree heat outside and no air-conditioning inside, we were sweating up a storm. Hurriedly, we left for the park swimming pool. As luck would have it, this was girls’ day.

We dove into the cool water and how wonderful it felt! We swam and swam, until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something floating by. Oh, God, no! It couldn’t be! Alas, it was. One lone falsie floating by without a care in the world or a matching partner, for that matter. Right then and there I knew I’d have to stay in the pool until midnight, but then I’d be late for supper, as well as grounded. Embarrassed beyond belief, I climbed out of the pool, ran into the girls’ locker room and changed back into my clothes. Carol came in a few minutes later, carrying the falsie in her hand. We walked home, feeling depleted by the entire experience.

The house was sweltering, the six-inch fan blowing hot air on Mom as she sat peeling potatoes for that night’s supper of potato salad and cold cuts. One look at my face and she knew the world had ended. Well, at least my little corner of it. Through tears, sobs and hiccups, the shamefaced tale was told. Reaching across the kitchen table Mom took my hand and said, “Go get my sewing basket and we’ll fix things right.”

That afternoon, over hot tears and cool lemonade, Carol and I learned that the quick answers the world offered to problems were often false, but love that was shared around the kitchen table was often the truest love of all.

Alice Collins

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