October 13, 2021
When Olivia was upset that she didn't have anything to wear, her grandmother handed her a note and said, "You should go to the address that's mentioned in this letter, honey. I know we didn't want to do it, but the time has come..." Olivia had no idea that the note she received would change her life forever.
“So what are you planning on wearing, Olivia? You’re coming for the party, right?” asked Anna, Olivia’s classmate and the school bully who often looked down on kids who weren’t as rich as her.
“That’s none of your business, Anna,” Olivia stated emphatically as she prepared to leave, but Anna stood in her way.
“Wait, are you embarrassed that you won’t be able to afford expensive gowns like us? If that’s the case, don’t be concerned; I have an old dress. I was going to give it to my maid’s daughter, but I think you’d be better off with it.”
Olivia took a step forward and fixed her gaze on Anna. “Why don’t you just wear it yourself, Anna? I think that dress best defines you. After all, look at yourself. You don’t have anything better to do in life than mock others and make fun of them. The same attitude as always, just like the old dress. Anyway, I will see you at the party tomorrow. Let’s see what a scumbag like you wears!”
“How dare you talk to me like that?” Anna screamed at her. “I’ll show you what defines you the best!” She pushed Olivia to the ground, and all their other classmates started laughing.
It wasn’t a new thing for Olivia. The city school where she studied was considered prestigious. Most students came from wealthy families, and only ten students were accepted each year based on a scholarship. Olivia belonged to the latter set of students.
Furthermore, the school had two camps: “Goldbearers” and “Picked.” The first category boasted about their wealth and expensive outfits, while the second was looked down upon by the first because they did not come from wealthy families.
Unfortunately, Olivia was part of neither of the groups because she was always on her own. She was studious and wanted to support her family financially. The other students at school frequently tried to humiliate her, but no matter how hard they tried to drag her, it did not affect her—until today when she actually took the insult to heart and ended up claiming she’d come to the party.
Olivia stayed with her grandmother Edith. They weren’t in dire financial straits, but they weren’t in the lap of luxury either. Olivia’s mother, Lisa, was only 16 when she gave birth, and three years later, she married a promising man, but she never told him she had a child. So Edith had looked after Olivia since she was 3.
Olivia had been financially supported by her uncle for several years, but after his wife started objecting, he sent money to them on rare occasions, so his wife wouldn’t find out. For the rest, Olivia worked part-time to support herself and her grandmother. The woman was old and walked around with a stick, and Olivia was the only one who looked after her.
Olivia was distraught when she arrived home that day. She tried to hide it from Edith as usual, but this time she was caught. “Be honest, Olivia. Something happened at school, right? It’s written all over your face, so don’t hide it,” Edith suddenly asked.
Olivia sighed. “Everything is pretty much the same, grandma. The only stupid thing I did was that I agreed to go to a party that I shouldn’t have. I've been avoiding such stuff for so long, but I don’t know how I just lost it today.”
“What’s wrong with going and hanging out with your friends, Olivia? You should,” Edith encouraged her.
"But I don't have anything to wear," Olivia said almost crying. Then the girl revealed the entire story to her grandmother.
Edith listened to her patiently but didn’t say anything. She stood up, went to her room, and came back with a note. “Here, take this! It's an address. I think it's time. Let her help you at least once in her life!”
Olivia didn’t want to do that. She knew it was her mother's address. “No way I am asking that woman for help!” Olivia told herself, but then she remembered how she’d be bullied for the rest of the school days.
Even if she complained to the school, they would not take action against the rich kids, and she still had one more year before she graduated, so in the end, she decided to seek her mother’s assistance.
She went to the address mentioned on the note Edith had given and was welcomed by her mother at the door. “Olivia, what are you doing here? Is mom okay? Nothing happened to her, right?”
Olivia sighed. “Everything’s fine with her. You don’t need to worry. I just need your help.”
“Sure, honey,” Lisa said. “What do you need?”
“Can I come in first?” Olivia asked.
“Well, yes, you can, but please...”
“Chill. I just need a dress for a party. If George asks, just tell her I am your friend’s or neighbor's daughter. I don’t want to be associated with you guys, either.”
Lisa didn’t say anything else after that because she knew Olivia was correct. George wanted a child who would be his blood, and things had been off between them ever since he’d discovered Lisa couldn’t conceive. Lisa knew she had nowhere to go if George left her, so she had no option but to put up with him.
She silently led Olivia inside while George was busy in his study. Olivia told her the whole story about the outfit, and Lisa handed over a dress to her and matching ornaments. She was also about to hug Olivia when she was leaving, but Olivia stopped her. “No need for that. Before your husband asks about me, I need to leave. And don’t worry, I’ll return your dress soon.”
The next evening, at the party, the gold diggers were as usual teasing and mocking others. “Look at Julia’s dress,” one of them said. “It looks like a cow’s saddle, but she’s walking around happily.”
“I know right,” Anna agreed. “I wonder what outfit Olivia will wear. I'm waiting to see her. Or what if that poor creep doesn’t come at all?”
Other girls chuckled. “By the way, what’s with those guys there?” Samantha said. “Why are they crowded like that?”
“Come on, let’s see,” Anna suggested.
However, when she and her girl gang got closer, they became numb. All the guys had been hovering around Olivia. She was dressed to the nines in a branded, stunning red cocktail gown. The earrings she was wearing were unusual, and a bracelet glistened on her hand. To put it mildly, she resembled a queen.
Anna and her friends were jealous of her and didn’t say anything to her that night, but when she came to school the next day, they were back at ridiculing her.
“Someone came all decked up yesterday. I was wondering if it was like that fairytale where the carriage turned into a pumpkin and the dress into rags sometime after the party?” Anna remarked sarcastically. “And guys, what if she stole the outfit from somewhere?”
At this point, Olivia lost her cool. “What if your family suddenly runs out of money, Anna? What will you do? Scream? Cry? After all, you do not want to study, and without good grades, you will not find a good job.
“I just showed you yesterday how to dress nicely. But believe me, this isn’t the most important thing to me. I can always have all of that because I know how to work hard and appreciate things. But you? Only the Lord knows.
“A brat like you would never understand how it feels when you achieve everything yourself. So good luck with your wealth. Let’s see how far it takes you.” Olivia remarked. But when she turned around to leave, she noticed Lisa standing there. Lisa began applauding, and other kids joined her too.
Olivia walked away, ignoring her, but Lisa stopped her. She pleaded with Olivia to forgive her, explaining she had not expected her to show up at her door the night before, but she couldn't help herself and decided that night to leave everything and return to her daughter.
Olivia didn't believe her at first, but Lisa actually moved to Edith's house and began looking for work to support them. She divorced George soon after and became the sole breadwinner of the family. It took Olivia some time to forgive her mother, but their differences eventually faded.
What can we learn from this story?
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