She’d sat in Brett’s office when the two ladies came to plead their cause, she’d listened to their prepared speech, and she’d have said no if it had been up to her. Brett made all the decisions concerning the club, but when it came to public relations, he usually asked for her opinion and followed her hunches. He hadn’t asked what she thought this time, though; he’d shaken the women’s hands, agreed to donate his employees’ time, his alcohol and the use of his premises, even offered to have the flyers printed for them.
She’d seen those flyers; they’d been on the bar for the past month, a larger version taped to the club’s glass door, the color bright and obnoxious.
She wasn’t a fan of pink. She wasn’t a fan of the name these prim and proper ladies had chosen either. Shades of Pink? Really? She’d had a hard time not rolling her eyes when they’d mentioned it, and had needed to disguise a scoff into a cough.
Brett had asked her, afterward, why she looked so annoyed. She’d tried to explain to him that it wouldn’t be good for business, that cancer scared people and would chase customers away; PR was her thing, she knew how long it could take to repair the damage caused by one bad night.
“You know I trust your judgment,” he’d said when she was done. “But on this one, I think you’re wrong.”
“Wrong? I’ve worked hard for years so that people wouldn’t associate this place and death. This is going to break all that.”
“Not if the night is about something other than death.”
At her blank look, he added, “Strength? Courage? Life?”
She hadn’t seen it then, hadn’t believed him. But now that she stepped into the club, that same life she had feared would be absent to night jumped at her from everywhere.
It wasn’t about the colors, the event holding up to its name with every possible shade of pink all around her, from the lightest baby hue to the brightest neon color. It wasn’t even about the music rising from the dance floor, loud and bouncy. It was about the sheer energy in the room, about the women, all in extravagant pink dresses, all with the event’s signature pink cocktail in hand, all smiling and chatting and laughing. Some of them looked like the club’s regular crowd of young women out for a good time. Others looked like their mothers. A few even looked old enough to be their grandmothers—which meant, they were Lisa’s age.
Watching the party, Lisa realized something. She’d changed as decades passed. She’d retained her youthful appearance, but the way she acted, the way she thought, the things she believed had changed—except for the way she regarded a disease that had once frightened her. People had talked of it in shushed voice, in her time; women had shuddered in fear.
But these women tonight weren’t scared. They weren’t trembling or averting their eyes. Instead, they were standing tall, strong, together.
Turning on her heel, Lisa went back up to the loft. She stripped out of her leather pants and white blouse and hunted down the peach sheath at the back of her closet—the closest thing to pink she owned. She then returned to the club, and joined the ebullient life there.