I live in a house that is over 100 years old. Closet space apparently wasn’t a top priority in the olden days. Although, from what I understand, the room that is my bedroom was once the maid’s quarters. Kind of fitting, I think! 😉 My closet is very small. T doesn’t even get to use it at all. He keeps his clothes in another, far-off location.
Tonight I was in the midst of my bi-annual, change of season, clothes swap. Out with the light summer clothes, and in with the warmer fall and winter wardrobe. I actually enjoy this. I sort through everything. I bag up what I won’t wear again. T knows a family who is always happy to take our cast-offs. Other items are greeted like an old friend. I love to dig out my ratty gray sweaters each fall. I love to wear the ugly, old gray sweaters on the weekends, and I have an impressive collection.
This year, I came across something that made me suck in my breath and rock back on my heals. I was bending over a box, and I had to sit down on the floor. It was my yellow skirt. I once loved that skirt. I purchased it online at J Crew. It’s soft corduroy, a lovely goldenrod color, and it looks great with my tall black boots. As much as I loved that skirt, my hand recoiled when I grabbed it out of the box. I dropped it like it was a white-hot flame. I almost shoved it into the give-away bag to get it out of my sight. I haven’t worn it in almost a year. I can remember every single, excruciating moment of that day, the day I last wore that skirt. I remember my nervousness, nervousness turned to fear. I remember the pacing for what seemed like hours. I remember the phone call I eventually got the nerve up to make. I remember the disbelief. I remember the betrayal. Yes, but all of that is another story.
Tonight, I sat looking at the skirt and remembering. I held it close to me, and I was grateful that it was tonight and not that night almost a year ago. Tonight I was safe. The boys are happily away at school. The girls, T and I had just finished dinner along with happy conversation. The girls were doing homework. T was watching football. I was cleaning. Most importantly, I was feeling calm and content. At least I had been in those moments before discovering the skirt.
As I held the yellow skirt, I thought of the other things that I hang onto that remind me of other life traumas. I have the green Peridot earrings that I wore the day baby Adam lost his life. They are his birthstone, and I had bought them to welcome my new baby. Sometimes I pick them up, and I remember. I have the dangly amber earrings that I was wearing on the day of Andrew’s accident. I put them on each year on that date, April 21. I wear them as a talisman and a symbol of the victory we had over tragedy. There are many more things, other things that I have kept for years, all of them with personal meaning. None of them represent lies and betrayal, though. Some of these other things represent loss, yes, but they also represent love and great meaning in my life. I held the skirt, and wondered what to do. It’s just a skirt, and I like it. I put it on a hanger and smoothed it out. I’m keeping it. It can’t hurt me now, and it represents nothing worth keeping in my life. It’s just a skirt.
There will be other things in my life that, in the future, will suddenly, irrevocably become triggers of memory and deep emotion. I wonder what they will be?