Closet space

One of the first things I have to do in order to live big is to empty my closet. It is a walk-in closet full of clothes I cannot wear. I’m not really a packrat, or even a clotheshorse. But I count the season of my life in my attire, in the same way that some people keep letters and photographs. And this over-filled closet is, and is not, a metaphor.

What I wore is my way of remembering my body in the world. Something about the way the pocket sags on my grey wool cardigan is just the right shape to hold a memory: my first kitten, the one I brought home from work in that pocket, a big-eyed wonder with toxoplasmosis from living on meats scraps at Hot Sauce Williams Bar-B-Q. Two tailored dress shirts in purple and jasper shantung: pretty, shiny things that kept my breath alive inside two decades of navy flannel suits.

Some of these memories now serve me less well. These low-slung moleskin jeans belong to hips narrower that the ones I now call mine.  That pair of high-heeled gold satin slides with rhinestone buckles jumped the broom at my wedding, but they will not dance again. Although I treasure the joy I knew in them, my knees won’t bear them anymore. They belong to a life I no longer live.

But it is hard to let go. Will I someday forget the tenderness of my lover’s hand slipping a mother-of-pearl button through the loop of this jewel-neck blouse?

Blouses and suits lay coiled in bags and boxes. The leather arm of my first designer handbag desperately holds onto a two piece knit dress. The eyes of my high-lace boots stare accusingly. “Is this some kind of middle-aged dementia?” they ask.  Do I intend to invite forgetfulness by letting them go?

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  • SueB  On November 30, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Oh what a vision you r in those clothes and have been over the years…I have fond memories of your style. And I think you are still the only woman I have had a dream about which centered on a dress…a red dress!

    U are an amazing writer…always have been. Keep posting…I’ll keep reading!

  • Cindy Maxey  On November 30, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Sounds like there’s a quilt ready to be made in your closet.

  • Melissa  On November 30, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Poignant, graceful, and lovely. xx

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