Your time has come. You head on up to those pearly gates to meet good ole Peter. You boldly state your name, he looks through his list, and examines you gravely.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. You can’t come in. I’m afraid you have to go to…the other place.”
Being the gentleman that he is, he gives you directions. On your journey, you begin to imagine the terrors of the potential scenarios that await you: the classic hellfire, or perhaps an eternity of hard labor? You envision desolation, unimaginable heat, a jail cell. But as you round the corner and meet your fate, you see that it is even worse than you could’ve possibly imagined.
Before you looms a massive Forever 21.
As you enter, for a moment you are fooled.
You think, “I guess I haven’t been so bad! I get to shop the latest trends and pay next to nothing for them! This might be fun!”
You wander into the first cavernous room. It is “festival” themed, with racks of flower prints, fringe, and tie dye surrounding you. It’s not exactly your style, but you think you might find something you like.
But then you take a closer look. The racks have no organization; random clothes are all mixed together. You find a shirt you might like, but alas: XXL. You glance around, thinking there MUST be a rack containing your shirt. You carefully begin to dig and sift, like an archaeologist trying to preserve a bone (because surely there’s an order to this madness, right?? Someone must have a plan here….right?)
You search and search, but it seems that is the ONLY shirt of its kind in this god-forsaken room, despite the fact that the room is enormous. You begin to grow weary. You’ve exhausted this room’s many racks so you wander into the next space: club themed.
Somehow, despite the fact that club attire is not at ALL your style, the devilish pull of the store takes over your body and you find yourself once again desperately sifting through racks, shelves, and corners. You begin to succumb to the feeling that surely there must be something in this room for you to try on. I mean it’s so BIG! There are so many options! In your sheer desperation to get to the dressing room, you grab several items in varying sizes close to yours, thinking “Well, I don’t really like this on the hanger, but maybe it’ll look really great on!”
This happens in room after room. Your arm grows weary from carrying so many items, at which point you get excited all over again. You think you MUST have something you’ll love in there, simply because there are SO many pieces! You begin to search for a dressing room. At this point, you are shaken from your concentrated stupor enough to notice the music: thumping, mind-crushingly repetitive pop music. Each song sounds exactly like the last, except that each NEW song is somehow WORSE than the last. You start to get a throbbing headache, both from the horrendous sounds you’re being forced to listen to and the sheer weight of the clothes you’re carrying.
You round the corner and FINALLY: you see a dressing room sign. You gleefully rush towards it and BAM, you get smacked in the face with the sight of a line so long it makes Disney World on spring break look like amateur hour. You hold back and join the end of the line.
Approximately 3,892 incredibly painful seconds go by as you stand there like a pack mule with your load. You have time to think about each minute of your life, each choice you have made, and wonder how you ended up in a place like this. Your head throbs, your feet ache. And just when you’re about to give up, you get a dressing room.
You walk down a dirty, dingy hallway and go into a small, cramped dressing room. The door’s lock is broken. Fluorescent lighting causes you to jump when you see yourself in the mirror: you look like an evil witch who did meth for 6 years. You take a deep breath and try on the first item. It fits terribly, with itchy fabric that somehow highlights all your worst qualities. Great. So now you’re a FAT evil meth witch. You try on item after item, each piece (like the music) worse than the last, until you’re utterly convinced that you were the most heinous creature to walk the face of the planet. The mirror becomes your biggest enemy.
And then: a tiny light at the end of the tunnel. An item that you normally wouldn’t think twice about: it’s plain, boring even. But it doesn’t make you look as bad as the others! Comparatively, you’ve never looked better and…look at that! Only $6.49, what a steal! Relieved your efforts were not for naught and energized by your “find”, you dump all of the other clothes with the pained woman manning the dressing room and find your way back through the maze of the store to the checkout. Hardly believing your bleary eyes, you are stopped in your tracks at the sight of (you guessed it!) another line longer than the Amazon river.
Brain about to pulse out of your head, with no self esteem left to give this terrible place, you decide maybe you should look around at the rooms you missed until the line dies down. You wander aimlessly into a room with western attire. And then one with workout clothes. And one with bathing suits.
…And you do this for the rest of eternity. Because hell is a Forever 21.