Melly Marvel was going to be a star. How she knew this is, again, questionable, as the things Melly Marvel knew often were.
Because Melly Marvel wasn't exactly star material. She'd average brown hair, average pre-teen skin, was of average height, and average looks.
Enter The Outfit.
You see Melly Marvel may have been average to the outside world, but- due to the extravagant richness of her inner imaginative life- she fancied herself remarkable.
To that end, she didn't dress like the other kids. Instead, she had Marietta make her clothes. Thus, she was the only eleven-year-old at Windsor Elementary wearing haute couture.
The problem with this was that Melly's eye was not yet well trained. Which is precisely why she thought The Outfit was a good idea.
And it may well have been had she been in Beverly Hills. But in Memphis, Tennessee, The Outfit was entirely too avant garde.
Still she blazed forward. Melly and Marietta plotted their crowning glory. There was the selection of a lovely striped cotton fabric that resembled nothing so much as the curtains in an ice cream parlor. There was the loosening of the elastic around the ankles. (One doesn't want one's Outfit to cut off one's circulation!) And then there was the big reveal: the wearing of The Outfit to Windsor Elementary School.
The Sprawlings made this- as they made most things- a huge, big deal.
Pictures were taken. A stamp was put into the back of The Outfit bearing Melly Marvel's name, as though The Outfit alone among all of her clothes were at risk of being stolen off her body.
Melly Marvel felt like a movie star. She felt she had arrived. Leaving for school, she hugged Marietta with such fervor that, watching them, Phelan saw tears of happiness leap to Marietta's eyes.
That night, Melly Marvel entered the house like a dark cloud, dirt stains on her clothes. Phelan and Marietta asked what had happened but Melly Marvel said nothing.
She had sworn she wouldn't tell them. As soon as it had happened, she'd sworn she wouldn't tell them that, when she walked up to school, Louis Fitch had walked up beside her and called her 'Clownpants'. Melly Marvel swore to herself that her parents must never know that, on the playground that day, the boys had thrown dirt at her, taunting her, calling her Clownpants, saying she looked stupid, teasing because her clothes were homemade.
There were things parents should never know and this was one of those things. Melly Marvel knew this for sure. Because their feelings mustn't be hurt. She must protect them. Phelan and Marietta must never know people were so mean.
The Outfit was never worn again.