Today, we have a fabulous installment from our semi-regular columnist Megan McCarty, but this time she’s not talking about relationships – at least not the traditional kind. This time she’s talking about a special kind of love between that of a woman and a treasured impractical item in her closet. I’m about to undergo a major wardrobe overhaul – I will be sharing this challenge with you soon – but letting go of pieces I love, even if it’s for no good reason…well I don’t know if I have the heart for it.
It was January in New York City, which was unlike every other January I’ve lived through – you know the type, the cruel kind where you fuel your post-holiday letdown by crawling under the covers for a few weeks. That way, if you live in a place hit hard by winter like I do, Mother Nature can’t gnaw at whatever skin you’ve dare left bare.
This January though, this one in New York, was as if the city had decided screw it, we’re not doing winter this year. So I walked the snowless streets with my coat unbuttoned, the springish air seemingly drugging everyone into adding a little delirious pep to their step.
It was glorious.
One weekend I was hip-to-hip with an old friend, the type you lock arms with because you’re just so happy to be together, and we moseyed our way to a flea market for nothing in particular. No thanks, we’re just looking. Flea markets aren’t for everyone: they can be overwhelming and expensive and more work than they’re worth. There’s often too much (sorting, money) and too many (people, items).
I wasn’t intending to buy anything, really, instead just blissed out grazing my hand over tooled leather bags and belly laughing as my friend twirled around in fur coats.
Then there it was, this loud yellow fedora, staring back at me, far too expensive and in the persuading hands of a haberdasher named Ignacio. Charm buzzed through his veins, this Ignacio, a besuited man in his 60’s who knew a thing or two about hats and tailoring and, well, women.
“Is this what love feels like?” I wondered, perhaps aloud, tracing the brim with my fingers. If this isn’t love – the knowingness, the complete abandon to responsibility, the never wanting to live without it – then what is?
Ignacio knew, he saw it in my glossed-over eyes, so he snake charmed my credit card out of my purse. The hat was mine, to be worn on my little peanut head and to be endlessly complimented for years to come. Inevitably someone mentions Dick Tracy. Inevitably someone pops it off my head and places it onto theirs. Inevitably it reminds me of that oddly warm winter day in New York.
Some pieces of clothing have a form and a function. Then there are those with form, function and memories soaked in the seams. The dress you were wearing when you met him, the ring your grandmother gave you, the hat from that springish winter in New York. It’s taken years and a few travels and a maybe more than a few wild nights to do it, but my closet is now full of pieces like that – the ones that, if they talked, would spill my secrets. Now that’s love.
Be sure to catch up on Megan’s insightful perspective on dating, break-ups and singledom HERE!