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Charming Consolation

February 4, 2009

It’s February. My boots are stained with salt, my figure blooms five sizes larger from the camisole, undershirt, other shirt, first sweater, second sweater, coat-gloves-scarf. Wind-chafed cheeks are rosy but dry. My kitten keeps me awake at night and there are circles under my eyes.

Lovelorn on top of all this, I am consoling myself with aesthetics. A superficial illusion, sure, but a well-crafted one which might, if sustained, seep through all those layers to soak into my heart. I just want to get on with my life, but can’t quite let go of dead love. And, frankly, I’m not sure it’s a sign of good health to label it “history” and start fresh just yet.

There are two schools of thought on this: the first advocates wallowing till the heartache eases, like a kid throwing a tantrum that eventually peters out; the other shouts, “Brush it off! Move on! His loss! You’re such a pretty girl, and besides, everyone is susceptible to love come springtime, especially those who least expect to find it!”

For now, I’m all about survival architecture–a nicely packed lunch, a fresh tube of mascara, jars aligned just-so in the pantry, shoes polished and paired on the mat by the door. Messages returned, old ones deleted, bills paid and filed away, eggs stowed in the tray that dimples the fridge door.

Last night: a jaunty paper bag dangles by its handle from my wrist; inside, tiny take-out containers filled for one-and-a-half (I eat a lot for a lady my size). Cute knitted gloves too long to stuff up my sleeves crumple around my cuffs. The evening stays light long enough for me to reach my front door.

Later on: heather-grey tracksuit trimmed with pink thread, and a ponytail drawing my hair back from my brow. No music, not even something low and slow–I’ve ruined too many songs by hitching them to memories that pinch or burn. Birdie chirps from the other room, demanding I toss her toy mouse again–we’ve been at this for hours, the kitten and me. For everyone who’s asked me, this sound is how she earned her name.

This morning: thinking about the way things are packaged and transported from A to B.

Right now: considering our penchant for things out of season, how our desire for hot weather fuels the winter get-away industry, that our untrained appetites lead to strawberries in January.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Carrie permalink
    February 10, 2009 4:04 pm

    Raspberries in February have been saving my nights. Minneolas too.

    When your heart isn’t sparking, sometimes you just have to jangle the senses.

    I also suggest some brainy podcasts instead of music for now. How about RadioLab?

  2. Becca permalink
    February 18, 2009 2:46 am

    I’m going through the same aesthetic therapy right now. I started painting again for the first time in more than a year. And I’ve also been out several times looking for just the right eyeshadow or new socks.

    I love reading your posts. You really find the words to describe the place you are right now. I wish I could do that.

  3. Amanda permalink
    February 18, 2009 9:56 am

    Funny you should mention eyeshadow! I recruited a co-worker a few weeks ago and we spent the morning browsing at Sephora. In the end, I couldn’t make a selection, despite his excellent coaching that “sure, there’s no exact match to the shade you usually wear, but maybe that’s because it’s time to change your eyeshadow palette and change your life!”

    : )

  4. Becca permalink
    February 19, 2009 3:46 am

    I never ended up buying an eyeshadow either. How did eyeshadow go from being like $5 to being $18? I just can’t justify it. So, I’m still wearing the same shadow I’ve been wearing since 2000.

    Your friend sounds amazing! I need someone to encourage those kinds of changes, even if it costs me $13 more than I was planning on spending. 🙂

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