A few weeks ago I bought a coat. It’s a nice coat. It isn’t new, though it’s new to me. I bought it one morning after performing a bevy of stunts (grocery shopping, car wash, banking) in my old coat, which has always been too small, ever since I inherited it a couple of years ago. A too-small coat is a major impediment to a decent mood on a cold day when there’s lots to do.
All of a sudden, in the midst of settling groceries into the car while simultaneously trying to explain evolution to B (“So, was I ever a human baby in a monkey’s belly?”) I decided: Life is too short to remain miserable in a too-small coat.
The thing about buying previously loved clothing – that’s the right term these days, isn’t it? – is that for a little while you smell like someone else. My new coat, especially, seemed to cling to the essence of it’s previous owner (or maybe of the shop) which was floral in nature, and not a scent I associate with myself. I’m more of an earthy, ocean, woodsmoke kind of girl. I didn’t mind the smell; I admit, I indulged in a few fantasies of an exotic nature. Like I was a skinny professional somebody who spent a lot of time checking her iPhone. Or a grandmother who had ample time to read books and sip tea in front of cozy fires. Or a super smart scientist chick who dreamed of learning how to play the violin. See? Exotic.
M asked once, after I returned home from a weekend day at the office, “Did you hug someone?”
He was sniffing my hair. I thought back – no, no hugs from anyone but the people I live with. We decided it might be the coat. The ghost of its previous life inserting itself into my day, not unwelcome but unfamiliar. A reminder that the world is both larger and smaller than I usually imagine.