It sounds extremely sacrilegious to start a grief post with a good, nail-biting super sale story, but, um, er, I'm gonna go there.
A neighbor and I and Ale-Crawl bundled up last Saturday and ventured out to a "clearance" "tent" "sale" (please add your own word that expresses "Really fucking cheap! Practically Free! Throwing these out unless you take them!") thingy for a catalog company that I don't want to print out here because I get enough spam as it is. Let's just say, super cute, a bit wacky, British, caters to women and kids, and if you're like me, you rarely buy unless you can get a sale. odenBay for my friends who speak fluent BaconLatin.
In any event, the kids selection was massively picked over by the time we got there (sadness), but there were still deals to be had in women's -- if you fit into their clothes. (Those Brits are NARROW! I tried on a shirt that I couldn't fit my shoulders into. Ah well, try the next size up, I'm not proud: just as narrow, but with more fabric from front to back. Huh? Do they simply grow potbellies and boobies as they grow taller? Am I really that wide?) I found a couple steals, neighbor had a pile of cute things to try on, so I told her I'd meet her by shoes.
And there they were.
The color grabbed me first: bright green. Bright green, knee-high boots. In my size. I picked them up and all but wept, surprised that the buttery leather didn't melt away in my warm grubby paws. Tried them on, perfect. Perfect! And I stood there thinking, "Oh my god, bright green boots, HOW FUN! How alarmingly FUN! Whee!" I may have clapped. It may have been the baby. A stranger walked by me with her stash and said, "I paid retail for those. They're my favorite pair of shoes, and I get compliments every time I wear them." I smiled at her and I think managed to get out a coherent sentence, the upshot of which was "FUN!" I was so getting those boots. And then I looked at the table again and . . .
there they were.
The same exact creamy, beautiful, use-as-a-pillow soft pair of boots . . . in purple. Also in my size.
Now I had a decision to make. They were extremely well-priced ($50) but not so well priced that I felt like taking them both. Which color? Fun and safe-r, or FUN? The kids sitting against the wall bored out of their minds weighed in: it was a tie. The stranger woman passed me again and said, "Green." Another woman chimed in "that purple would go with anything." Ale was grabbing at the purple. I set off to find my neighbor and showed them to her. And midway through our debate she noticed something: the purple pair? Was marked $25.
We made sure the zippers worked and they were the size as posted and turned them all over and they were perfect. "If you don't get both for yourself, I'm buying you the purple pair for your birthday," said my neighbor.
I came home with two pairs of boots, both fun, one FUN. (My crazy-ass neighbor managed to jam $25 into the side of my bag when I wasn't looking, so I need to do a reverse pickpocket and deposit the cash back in her possession.) I mentally put together a few outfits (lord knows, no creamy dreamy leather of mine is going out in 15" of melty dirty ice-shellacked snow) and went to bed.
At some point the next day, I wandered into the closet to check out my Fun! boots. And it hit me like a dropped piano:
I just did something because I thought it would be fun. Fun. Because they made me smile. Because the outfits I envisioned, on me, made me smile. I haven't bought or frankly thought fun in . . . years. I haven't wanted to look happy or fun because god knows I wasn't feeling it (see: closet full of black and gray clothing). What on earth possessed me to do this? Am I ready for this?
Perhaps it's like the rule of yuk: You know how after the bad shit happened that Big Bad Things rolled off your back and tiny bullshit problems made you rock and cry and tear your hair out? Maybe there's a Joy Corollary? That it's hard to wrap your arms around one big ball of joy (say, a holiday) and really feel it, but the little things kinda work their way in under the sill and make you giggle? And possibly even clap? And before you realize what it is you're smelling, you're feeling pretty awesome?
Want to clap more? These retailed in the ballpark of $270. Joy Indeed.
I suppose my new found sense of Fun! was surprising not only in the aggregate, but because well hey looky here, it's February. It's cold. There's some mix of snowy rainy sleety shit blowing sideways out my window every five days or so. Tomorrow's to-do list includes "order flowers," which I do every year for her and me. Her name gets dropped a bit more frequently, my jaw gets clenched for long periods of time. There's a little tension ache right in the center of my back and my shoulders feel the weight of world. That could be because the Steelers' center is out with a broken ankle for the Super Bowl, but I kinda doubt it.
I'm on the verge of four . . . four! years and as Julia so simply and succinctly put it, four years ago today I was just another pregnant woman. Green shoes on deep discount probably would've made my heart go pitty pat, but I certainly wouldn't have had the introspective couch session with myself afterwards. I would be nonplussed to feel joy and express it through footwear. I suppose if anything marks four it's that crazy sense that I'm ok in that crazy sort of way, tinged with the disbelief that those flashbacks still appear and sting as much and as clearly as they do. There's more oscillating I suppose, because the highs are getting a bit higher -- which all things considered is better than the alternative of stumbling a few inches off the curb and straight into hell which is where I felt I was just a few years back.
It does get better, I realize now. I will have fun (sorry, Fun!) again. I will also still feel pretty down come February. And I suppose the truth is in reconciling those emotions and realizing that's ok. That's just how it is.
We'll call it: Mourning, with Fun Boots.