Monday, September 12, 2011

My Wardrobe

I've had a day of quiet. Besides talking on the phone with Jessie and May and speaking with Mr. Moon in person, I've not talked to another living soul. Well, I said good morning to a few people on my walk.
I like days like this. So much so that I wonder if I like them too much.
I had thought about going to town to take my mother to the Walmart (ugh, but it's very close to where she lives) to get a new cover for her bed but did not go. Mr. Moon has gone off to the auction and so dinner can be leftovers and there was no need to go to the store.
No real need to go anywhere and so I did not.

I've been thinking a lot about things I used to do which I never do now and I am not sure whether or not I should be worried about the fact that my world has gotten so small. I know. I talk about this a lot but I do worry.

I used to shop for clothes, for instance. And shoes. I remember the thrill of the 75% off racks at the end of summer and I remember finding shoes that I knew I didn't really need, but wanted, and yes, even bought. I remember buying perfume and make-up and even jewelry.

I remember shopping.

Now I feel no need to shop for clothes. Where do I go where I would need them? We used to go out, Mr. Moon and I, every Friday night without fail and I loved to go to the stores on Fridays, buy a shirt or a pair of jeans or a skirt or even just a new eye shadow. Something special, never very expensive, but just something that delineated the Mommy Mary from the Girlfriend Mary.
And of course there were the years I worked for Weight Watchers and had to look presentable and so I shopped for that- a great deal of my wardrobe came from Goodwill but they were nice clothes. I have an eye for style, I know my labels. Believe it or not.
And I needed clothes for going out with friends and for PTSO meetings and for whatever else it was I did in those days. I can barely remember. Clothes to shop for clothes in, I guess.

And now here I am.

Here I am. Right now I am wearing overalls and an old, very soft Gap T-shirt of brilliant blue and I'm sweaty and dirty from working in the garden and that's pretty much my life now. I have a few pairs of men's linen cargo shorts from Old Navy which are about worn out and a pair of cotton cargo shorts (men's, of course) from Target and my tank-tops and my t-shirts and a few things I can wear when and if I go out which is not very often, to see my mother, to go to the store, the library, to meet the kids for lunch in town. I have a few "fancy" things for when Mr. Moon and I do have a date- all of them very old, and of course I put on my bracelets then, my armful of silver bracelets and earrings and sparkly eye shadow but for the most part, here I am, plain and suited up only to tend the chickens and garden.
Even my nightgown is as plain as a sheet, white cotton and no more sexy than a bag.

And so the clothes are nothing more than representative of my life. They are old, soft, serviceable, and not intended to be pretty or sexy or any of those things which used to matter to me so much and that makes me sad.

One of the things I always loved about going to Cozumel was that every evening I would dress up for dinner. I would put on a dress or a skirt and I would put on make-up and my silver jewelry and we would walk or drive to town, depending on where we were staying, after a sunset drink on one balcony or another, and very often my nails were polished and my limbs were brown and I remember those evenings so well, feeling not like a wife or a mother, but like a woman who was on her way to dine with her handsome, handsome lover in the quick-growing dark of the Caribbean and the waiters would flirt with me and my husband would flirt with me and he and I would make eyes at each other over the candles on the table, reach hands across the tablecloth, sip our drinks and watch the children playing in the zocalo, the teenagers walking solemnly around the town square practicing their sexy, the mothers and fathers pushing strollers with their darling babies in them and the grandmothers like tiny wizened beings wearing their white dresses, their rebozos.

Let the other American tourist women wear their shorts and running shoes, I was drinking in every bit of the romance of where I was, the sea lapping yards away and I, who loves comfort as much as anyone in this world, could not understand how they could go out like that on one of Cozumel's soft evenings where the waiters always wear the whitest shirts imaginable and are like the dream waiters in a movie saying, "Welcome, Senora," and holding out your chair and offering to bring me anything, anything in this world I might want as the birds settle softly in the trees and the last rays of the sun pierce the darkness gently and make fantastical pictures in the sky and the spirits of the Maya surround everything. Everything.

Ah damn.
I guess I am thinking of Cozumel too much and I am also thinking of the woman I was there and wondering if that woman is even here at all any more. And if she is- what would she wear?

She still has this dress, which she has had for probably twenty years and which she wore when she went out last Friday night.

I remember buying it, so long ago that Jessie was a toddler and it was on major sale and I have worn it in Mexico so many times and it has never failed me once. White linen and as simple as a dress can be and I also wore it on my friend Lynn's birthday when she turned fifty. It is one of THOSE dresses.

Ah yah. Are there days like that ahead of me still? Days of dressing up and going out or celebrating this birthday or that one? Am I stuck in this beautiful old house and if so, is it because of no-need to go anywhere else or is it because of weariness and lack of will?

I don't know. I truly do not know. I know I need a shower. I know these overalls and this Cozumel Blue t-shirt need washing. I know that I have no desire whatsoever to go to the marketplace and shop. I know that I still have sparkly eye-shadow. I know that my hair is turning white. I know that I still love that man so much that I can't even begin to tell you. I know that I love my overalls but that I still love my silver bracelets. I know that I love this life and if I have crossed some line into older age then so be it.

But I also know that sometimes I yearn to go back there, to dress up, to paint my face, to walk into town, to reach hands across a table, to spend some days and nights not dressed in overalls or sheet-white cotton nightgowns, to put on my silver, to not be Mother Mary or Mary Wife or Grandmother, but to be girlfriend, lover, Woman Who Dresses In White Linen who drinks tequila and rum and who kisses passionately on balconies and who is shameless.

I do not care to go to work for Weight Watchers again or to go to PTSO meetings or club meetings or to shop. But I want to wear skirts that flow around my legs as I walk. I want to spend time with my lover while we are still young enough (yes! even at this age- even having been married for twenty-seven years!) to be daring in our love, to perhaps slip into water at midnight.

Well. The sun is going down in Lloyd. The chickens are pecking around their doorway, getting ready to tuck themselves into bed. I have gathered the eggs including one which is so tiny that it must be some hen's first egg. Owen is coming tomorrow. I am wearing overalls. I shall eat leftovers tonight. My man should be calling me anytime to tell me that he has made it to his destination safely. I will tell him I love him.
And I do.

I am content here in Lloyd and I worry that I am too content and I am thinking of an island and I am thinking of my grandson and I am thinking of silver bracelets like windchimes on my arm and I am thinking of how love is not just for the young and I am thinking of the dreams I had last night and how they were not good dreams but how tonight is another chance at the only sort of theater I seem to attend these days and how I do not need a new dress to go there or make-up or even a bra and so I take my chances and I get whatever I deserve and I see that the chickens have gone into the hen house and so I need to out there and undo what I did this morning, which was to open all of the doors and I am thinking of how fast this globe is spinning and how firmly I am holding on to it with both arms and I am thinking of how when we are born, we are naked and how when we die, we might as well be but inbetween, we get to pick what we shall wear-cotton or linen or silk or cashmere and how maybe that is what it means to be human.


  1. The truth is, though, Mary, you can have it all. In whatever ratios you want it in. Wait til the mood takes you. Find something nice, that you love. Wear it some random Friday, and be happy. No rules or imperatives. Haven't you earned that at this stage?

    That photo is a gorgeous joy to behold.

    Oh no. My wv is 'pitymat'. I swear to god!

  2. Oh, I love the way you write and illuminate every small thing or idea into a gorgeous image or tapestry.

    I am so grateful to be the beneficiary of your talent.

  3. Ah Ms Moon, you've done it again. The poignancy of this post, the way it ripples through the years, your lives, your other lives, younger, older and in between. It's simply lovely. As lovely as that white dress and the photograph of you and your man with your glowing suntans in a loving embrace. Being human, as you say. Thank you.

  4. Jo- As you know, it is always complicated. "Pitymat"? Oh lord! I hope not.

    Dianne- Thank-you.

    Lo- And I am so grateful that you come here and that I get to read your words, too.

    Elizabeth- Sometimes words just pour forth. I don't know why. Or how. I am just so grateful that they make any sense at all.

  5. Make a date for Friday. Nothing to lose right?

  6. Love is not just for the young. I am passionately certain of that.
    In 2005 & 2006, I saw more than 50 plays. And those weren't outrageously atypical years. The man who loves me (now) and I rarely go out. Money is tight, and really, I want to talk to him. Look into his eyes, dance in the living room, drink wine, and go to bed early.
    You have a man who loves you, and isn't nice to wear overalls and stay in? Seems like most of the time it is, and overalls are so wonderfully loose and comfortable.
    You are dreaming of Cozumel, and I hope you go again. I hope you wear the white dress and that it shines in the moonlight while Mr. Moon takes you in his arms. It's a great dress.

  7. You've just time-traveled me back to those young, exciting, make-up & clothes-shopping days and it's a fun trip, but I sure love my comfy house clothes with no bras in sight.

    Yes, we are crossing that line into older age and YES, love is not just for the young. I've witnessed the way you and Mr. Moon look at each other and you've still got it, baby!

    "Carey, get out your cane and I'll get out my finest silver." (and don't forget your sparkly eyeshadow).

    So, are you going to Cozumel for your anniversary???

  8. I don't think any of us are too old to have romance, dressed up or undressed. It is what we feel like on the inside. I can wear my old jeans and tee shirt and feel just like I was 20 again. A spark is still in there. Don't let it go out.

  9. You're still totally hot. Even in overalls. Ask Mr. Moon.


  10. It is odd how those times of going out, getting fussed up and pretty on a regular week in, week out...then some how those times pass. Unexpectedly we notice and wonder what happened?

    We were hiking every weekend last year and this year hardly at all. The weather has been so lovely and we got out of the habit. So what to do? When you miss something that makes you happy you just begin again...

    So get out on Friday night Mary...brush your hair, put it pretty, buy a new bangle for your wrist..a scarf of bright and hold your Love...come home and jump on the bed like new lovers...

    I know how you are feeling...we have such similar thoughts it is uncanny.

  11. Dear beauty-thank you for this post. Sometimes I just put on the clothes from yesterday, no shower because I'm gonna get dirty anyway and sweaty and who cares-my honey thinks I'm cute no matter what and the garden sure doesn't care what I'm wearing.

    It's liberating to be in a grungy pair of shorts with dirty feet and my breasts untethered, while the bees are humming beside me.

    XXX Beth

  12. Nothing beats a good old PJ day... When hubby is out doing some man stuff, and me running around like a headless chicken. LLLLLLooooooong ago I had a lover who did not want to see me without make up. Needless to say that this did not work. It's good to have a man where we can be all we want to be, dressed up or down.

  13. Anonymous- The problem is not that we can't go out- it's that by Friday evening all I want to do is to stay home. It is the weariness and the lack of will which I mourn, I think.

    Denise- Yes. The need to go out definitely wanes, doesn't it? But it's good to keep the memories and the dress.

    Lulumarie- It's the damn bra which is the deal killer! Want to go out? No. I'd have to put on a bra. Ha!
    I love that song. Always will.

    Syd- I do not intend to let that spark go out!

    Michelle- Oh, he'll SAY I am...

    Ellen- I suspect it is something we all go through, this decrease in need to leave our homes. For some of us, anyway.

    Beth- Oh, it IS liberating and I appreciate that more than I can say. I know. It's that other woman still in here?

    Photocat- No, that man would not have been my lover for long. And you are right about the sort of partner who appreciates us, dressed up or not.

  14. This is beautiful. I can tell how much you are longing for Cozumel.

  15. I'm with you, I too love Cozumel and I am going back some day!

  16. It's really all about the desiring, I think.

    I think.

    I often yearn for the days of Me -- the Me before Me.

  17. This lovely post overwhelmed me with wistful thoughts. I'm struggling with a lot of emotions right now, and could use a romantic night in a perfect dress. I've been rolling around in wrinkly clothes from yesterday for a long time now, because the dog just doesn't care what I wear.
    Thanks for sharing these beautiful thoughts with us, for giving me license to dream for a minute.

  18. I am so there. We vacationed many years in Cozumel. I love that place for all the reasons you say so beautifully. It has grown and become more crowded and more commercial i hear and, I imagine it has lost a lot of itself in the process. I'm almost afraid to go back. you can't go back really but you can go forward.

    And happily out in the country our small social circle smaller. And I wear the same clothes, t-shirts and shorts, for days. They don't offend me and I'm the only one who will see. I have my dress up clothes and jewelry for when needed and everyone has seen them many times. But I do visit the city about once a week though sometimes that's too often.

  19. Ms. Bastard-Beloved- What tipped you off? Ha!

    Bristolvol- It is my sacred place.

    Elizabeth- I know that yearning. Yes. I do.

    Mel- You have every right to dream for as long as you want!

    ellen abbott- If you go two streets up from the waterfront, it is the same. Well, okay. There are many changes but the spirit is the same, the water is the same, the sky is the same. It is still beautiful.

  20. I love this post, especially the beauty and the simplicity of the language, which are like the beauty and simplicity of your always-lovely dress. These are the characteristics I find admirable in your writing and with your life. Thanks for this.

    I don't know if I will ever be someone who sits at a table and feels feminine again, but I rock these red flannel dice pajamas as hard as I can.


  21. Pamela- That means a lot to me, those words of yours. Thank-you.

  22. You look so pretty in that dress, Ms. Moon. Who cares if it is 20 years old, it is gorgeous on you.


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