Warning…if you refer to me as your daughter or your mother, you might want to skip this one. Just sayin’.
It’s not good feng shui to have stuff under the bed. Move it, she said. Tonight, when you get home.
I knew what was underneath. The storage box made specifically for under the bed, the same storage box I’d carried out to the UHaul 13 years ago and wedged between boxes of dishes and books and clothes when we left Chicago for Kansas.
13 years is a long time to let things sit. That’s probably especially so when those things are hidden but not forgotten. Out of sight but I doubt ever out of psyche, memories stuffed in some corner of my brain as easily as the box slid under the bed.
I pulled it out and plunked it on the bed. I thought for a second about the pile of donation clothes in the hallway, the never ending chore of tallying outgrown shirts and pants and shoes and whatnot for tax time that I’d assigned to Erin to keep her busy. I couldn’t add any of this to the pile, and she wouldn’t know what to call any of it anyway.
I opened the lid and poked things around, like one does when dinner is boring and tastes like nothing. Pre-baby bras, tiny and lacy and front-closing. Pre-baby panties, frilly and jewel toned and small, even though Victoria Secret stamped the tag with the dreaded L. Those were the good things, the things I’d chosen for myself. The things I felt good wearing once upon a time, even though no one saw them but me.
Then there were the things that they picked. The itchy teddies, the garish lace and the short, short skirts that fueled a fantasy that never truly fit. I held them up and surveyed them, remembering each man by what they’d picked as a gift for Valentine’s Day or Christmas or whatever, and silently thanked God for moving them out of my life just as swiftly as he’d brought us together.
The saddest of the lot, though, were the pretty nighties that had been gifts at my bridal shower. Three of them; almost sweet compared to the others though skimpy enough to not be. One a gorgeous shade of emerald and shiny satin with three little buttons that once upon a time would have fallen in just the right place on my chest. Another creamy ivory with a gauzy flowered overlay that I imagine would swish with me as I move. The third a sheer pale green with lilac colored flowers and the slimmest of spaghetti straps.
And price tags still on all three.