Stepping into the hallway toward the stairs
I hear the muted click of my rubber edged heels against the gleaming oak floor. This house though now too much for me has so many memories. The scuff over by the base trim we made while I helped him bring the dresser upstairs.
“I got it, I got it!” I kept saying.
The wall ended up getting it as my fingers finally let go.
He would have been frustrated, but since we were making a bend, my scuff ended up distracting him as momentum carried his edge into the wall directly across from me. I take my hand and follow the gouge, still unpainted.
Sliding my fingers along the punctured wallboard, from afar it has looked like a painting error, or a heavy brush stroke resulting in a dimpled line along the wall. Staring at it now I could see the chips of paper hanging tenuously on the chalky plaster beneath. Each one perilously close to falling free from their ‘home’.
There is nothing that doesn’t remind me of his words.
“I love you.”
“I can’t wait to come home to see you.”
His smile, some would call it lazy, like his mouth wasn’t sure it should entirely comply with the request.
I loved it.
I loved how his eyes would brighten just before his lips would start to change shape.
I always knew that our fight was over, or he gave in when those eyes brightened. The smile was always the chocolate syrup on my own personal sundae. He would let me hug him for indeterminate amounts of time. Some of our friends would make comments, like “get a room” or “really? Again?”
I just liked the feel of him holding me.
Fighting back my tears, though not being very successful, I continued on down the stairs.
These steps shouldn’t be a big deal, I have run, jumped and nearly slid down them so many times in the last year. It feels like I’m slipping now. That the steps themselves have morphed into a slide that will take me away, away from safety, away from our home. The end of the slide is unknown, it’s black, thick, and hard to breathe.
Each step echoes lightly, the oak treads recently refinished by his very hands. It’s as though I’m ripping each tread off the stairs, almost taking his work away from him.
Why does each step feel so final?
My left hand goes to my ear, and habitually wraps stray hair around it.
The knoll post is approaching, I hesitantly approach it. I reach out to touch it one more time. My hand graces the beauty and smoothness. The post that anchors the stairs.
It’s round, natural grain seems to stream into my eyes, as the sun hits the blond clear coat. I move my hand and the change in position splays shadows over my body.
The final step, the door stands in front of me, imposing, judging me.
I reach out, and grasp hold of the knob, the last barrier to my exit. The old knob normally would creak in resistance to the twisting motion, today greets me in silence. I pull slightly, and the sun streams into its new opening. Stepping onto my porch, I continue. Standing straight, looking good for the part I have to take.
Outside, starting over again.
Standing there in front of the mirror was nearly impossible. The polish on my left pinky toe was gone, and a major chip and crack of the toenail had removed the teal glaze. I’m standing here willing myself to fix it, to restart my life. “Walk over to the bathroom and reapply the nail polish.” It was more of an attempt at willing my psyche, because like my toe, the very smallest and vulnerable of all of them, was reminding me of my life. It was small, wrecked and teetering on desperation.
I hate everything about me right now.
My thighs seemed to pop out around my waist. I’ve done nothing, hardly ate, slept profusely, and gained weight? It seemed so far from this angle that looking to the right only showed thigh. “I can’t even see the carpet?” “Why am I so ugly?” “One big thigh” I thought. My stomach used to have so much panache and yet now so floppy. If it wasn’t for my “misguided now” belly ring, the front sag may have eternally hid my current only favorite body part. Standing straight, I temporarily fixed the problem, at least made me feel a little better.
Here I stand in my bra and panties, no place to go but no place to stay. Scrunching my hair to give me something to do, I continued with the work at hand. Fix my life by just living, pretending, willing myself to go on.
It was time to cover up this patchwork of sloppy with a magical dress. Opening my sixteen year old ‘wooden’ jewelry box, I grabbed my silver hoops. I wasn’t sure on the size for today’s ensemble, but these were my favorite, and made my face pop. With the right earrings and mascara I could make a thousand bad makeup days disappear. Big eyes, and cute ears. My hair never hurt either as it waved down past my shoulders some resting on my chest. He used to love just sniffing, breathing in my hair. “How is it that you smell so good?” He constantly asked. It was almost as if he was more surprised by the power of it, than the smell itself. For me I never thought much of these locks until I realized his total absorption with them. He would come behind me and just grab hold, twisting, and climbing “my mane” he called it. I smiled a bit in the mirror just then, happy that this thought was finished with a smile.
Earrings in, it was time to try on my find. The ivory and black Rockabilly picked up last Spring from Hot Topic.
The dress laid there on the bed, halter straps traipsed around each other like lovers in an embrace. The light nautical print brought a touch of ebony to an already pearlescent bodice kissed by crinoline tulle at the bottom of the skirt. The clothing called to me, daring me to transform into that warm soul that everyone used to love. The beauty who some men just wanted to touch, or bump up against as their conversation was veered toward me, and seemly some never knew how to pull away.
I started by adjusting this new bra. The hope was that the current strapless model would provide the protection needed against the mighty gravity, which if it won would automatically force all conversation away from me, and instead involve sudden shock and awe as everyone would be gaping at my chest.
Adjustments made, body parts appeared to be sound. A quick light pull at the bottom while quickly pushing everything inside the protective wire and pad seemed enough to move onto the quest at hand.
I picked up the article from my bed. It laid in my arm like a bouquet of roses. This dress was made for my body. The skirt lightly billowed out as the straps now hung loose. I undid the hanger straps while spinning it around to pull down the zipper. The light crackle of metal unfastening, provided an electric shock as I now forgot my sorrows and allowed my guilty pleasures to take over. I excitedly lifted the skirt, careful of my hair, over my head. The silver earrings did their bidding and caught the tulle like a sergeant holding up traffic. The lace tickled my nose and tummy as it slid over my waist. Once the skirt fanned out at my hips my arms grasped hold of the two halter straps.
A halter provides that free open back aura while protecting everything in the front. I delicately tied the bow while adjusting each so they equally fell just below my neck.
Looking in the mirror, I noticed a small, delicate shaping bow and lightly adjusted that tie to cinch up the bodice perfectly against my waist. The change was electrifying and my eyes widened at the site before me in the mirror.
Sometimes the right dress can be magical. I need magical today. I smiled a bit, and it felt good. My arms looked nice, pearly white but smooth. My hair appeared to add body, while noting that subtle shape of my waist now accentuated by the flow and twist of the skirt. My mascara popped and with my blush raised my cheekbone making my face feel skinnier. I felt light, and wanted to swish my hips.
While leaning down to grab the lipstick I twisted my hips. The skirt happily complied with the request and lightly swished about, the lace lightly tapping my legs as it fulfilled the requirements of the request. Looking back up I noticed my butt causing that subtle curve from the waste. “Now why don’t you look that nice in underwear?” I thought.
It felt like I’ve been getting ready forever. I’m still representing in the mirror, at least, my makeup isn’t crumbling. This night is going to happen, everything is set minus my shoes.
Every outfit needs shoes, or actually lately, every outfit needs boots! The booties I’m planning to put on are new, ordered exactly my size in luscious black leather.
The box is cute. Orange top with yellow flowers lightly attached in a rainbow arch. Daisies smiling back at me. I usually like to add ceremony to my personal unboxing. The room is quiet today with the clouds obscuring the sun outside. The light in the room is muted though waiting for a reason to light up the yellow cardboard flora. Leaning down toward the box my necklace pointing toward the edge, it slowly makes its way back toward my chest as I lift the top.
The ‘Forever’ logo’d tissue paper crinkles as oxygen fills the void left while lifting the cover. What sweet goodness do I see hidden beneath the soft white lattice of birch and cream? The deep color is muted underneath the translucent peal, the light wrap only enhances the need to see what was held in the quiet darkness.
I was about to pull the paper away, exposed the truth beneath, but I hesitated. My mind moved away from the freedom at hand, and fell back into a familiar thought. The darkness outside seemed less muted, more cloudy.
It’s been three months.
Maybe it was how the room reflected the missing jewelry. Possibly it’s how the teal polish seems darker on a foggy day. Either way, I’m here, I’m standing, I’m wearing a dress that epitomizes my me. I’m staring at the article that will get me out the door, but my piece, my silver, the part that lived with me is now simply missing. A white band, a void, skin without a silver band.
He’s gone. He’ll never be back.
I turn to face the mirror again. Willing my face to hold. My hand shakes a bit, grasping the chair in front of me. The welling inside, is there, it’s on the edge of my breath. If I skip on the inhale this could be it. So many tears. Pillows stained with mascara. I used to believe that a cry relived my stress until I couldn’t turn it off. Is there any way to just make this day move forward?
“Breathe” I said quietly. “Breathe”, I inhaled, slowly, I was going to finish this one. Okay, exhale, close your eyes. Maintain. Move your hair behind your ear. Inhale. Exhale. Open your eyes. Reapply that lipstick. Yes. Maintain.
“I can do this.” I quietly breathed. “I can do this!” I said aloud.
By this time, I willed my right hand behind me, pinching the comforter and pulling myself back around. I’m now staring at the daisies. Sweet yellow flowers, so much hope.
“I must do this.”
It’s time to get ready.
The faux leather looks soft, black as dark as night. The heal catches the tapered sole in an powerful embrace. I love how narrow it looks sitting in the box. The zipper, partially pulled down “showing a little” to its single audience. Fingering the sole I trace it’s path toward the heel. Three inches to my five foot six frame. Apart from discomfort, there is nothing that shapes my body better than a well heeled shoe. If I feel cute than I must be. If I look happy than I am.
If I go out I’ll feel better.
Grasping the heel, I spin the bootie around to view the show. Buckles! Three silver attachments, holding tight to any ankle, my ankle, protecting me from a life that is less understood.
The zipper crackles and snaps as I draw it down to expose the insides. Sitting back in front of my mirror, I start sliding my right foot into its adorable prison. The anklet disappears slightly, til I realize that those narrow fronts are hiding a secret. I spin and twist, grasping hold of the upper. “You. Will. Fit. This. Foot. Today.” I say in cadence with my foot twists.
After a slight bit of work, my foot slides home. Leaning over, I grab the lonely sister and duplicate the chore. Staring down at my cloven feet I smile. The narrow front, strongly laden with buckles and belts. The taper from my calve now holds true. Slight pain for glorious style. I stand, and for once smile. Some sun peaks through the window, and my posture takes hold.
The first step is the hardest, but I turn toward the door on my way into the hallway.
Standing there in front of the mirror was depressing to her. The polish on her left pinky toe was gone, and a major chip and crack of her toenail ripped off the teal glaze leaving her left foot in a state where she couldn’t tell if the color was applied, or her nail was working at removing her attempts at care. Her thighs seemed to pop out around her middle, it seemed so far from this angle that looking to the right only showed thigh straight down to carpet. One big thigh she thought. Her stomach was a panache of almost cute belly button surrounded by fat roles wrapping and pushing it out of site. If it wasn’t for her ‘misguided now’ belly ring, her front sag may eternally hide her favorite body part.
All this sad news was nearly enough to add to an already hard day. It was time to cover up skin with a magical dress. She picked up her small silver hoops, not sure on the color for tonight’s ensemble, but they were her favorite, and made her ears pop, or at least took the eyes away from the lower left lobe. “What is that thing going to turn into when I’m fifty?” she thought.
Earrings in, it was time to try on her find. The ivory and black rockabilly picked up last Saturday from the local dress and scents shops downtown.
The dress laid there on the bed, halter straps traipsed around each other like lovers in an embrace. The light nautical print brought a touch of ebony to an already pearlescent bodice kissed by crinoline lace at the bottom of the skirt. The clothing called to her, daring her to transform into that warm soul that everyone wants to be around. The beauty who some men just want to touch, or bump up against as their conversation is veered toward her, and seemly never know how to pull away from.
Morgan first adjusted her bra. The hope was that her current strapless model would provide the protection needed against the mighty gravity, threatening to force all conversation away from her, and instead only leave eyes gaping at her chest.
Adjustments made, and body parts appeared to be sound. A quick light pull at the bottom while quickly pushing everything inside the protective wire and pad seemed enough to move onto the quest at hand.
She walked over to the bed and picked up the article. It laid in her arm like a child, holding on to her like it was made only for her body. The skirt lightly billowed out as the straps now hung loose. She undid the hanger straps while spinning it around to pull down the zipper. The light crackle of metal unfastening, provided an electric shock as she excitedly lifted the skirt still careful of her hair, over her head. The lace tickled her nose and tummy as is slid over her waist, her arms came down around the front and grasped hold of the two straps.
A halter provides that free open back aura while protecting everything in the front. Her hands delicately tied the bow while adjusting each bow so they equally fell just below her neck.
Looking in the mirror, she noticed a small, delicate shaping bow and lightly adjusted that tie to cinch up the bodice perfectly against her waist. The change was electrifying as her eyes widened at the site before her in the mirror.
Her hair seemed to add body, her waist once again showed her graceful shape. Wider eyes accentuated her face while taking all the focus away from areas she currently was less than happy about.
While leaning down to grab her lipstick she twisted her body around. The skirt happily complied with the request and lightly swished about, the lace lightly tapping her legs as it fulfilled the requirements of the spin. She looked up at the mirror and noticed her butt causing that subtle curve from the waste. “Now why don’t you look that nice in underwear?” she thought.