I am not even trying to imply that I understand Homer, nor have I studied his works in depth. But somehow I don’t think he was referring to parting with clothing when he quoted “Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this.” But, sometimes I am not sure if there is a worse feeling.
Allen was cleaning out his closet on Sunday when I saw a couple of suits he was discarding. I immediately started hyperventilating. “How could you? Those are beauutifulsuits. Classic.” As I slowly cried my words.
He reminded me that he had bought the “blue suit” and the “gray suit” 18 years earlier at a suit sale at The Locker Room one of his favorite men’s clothing stores. I remindedhim that the blue flannel wool with pin stripe and the gray herringbone worsted wool suit still looked as good as the day he bought them.
He just believed it was time to move the suits out of here. Plus, he went on to tell me, “I have got to decide where I am going to end up with my waistline.” I couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t he remember how dashing he looked in those suits when he was standing in front of the mirror before he purchased them. The connection that made his heart jump as he saw his reflection. Oh, maybe those were my emotions I remembered. And, it didn’t really matter if they fit now; one day he might get back into them.
He just saw a “blue” suit and a “gray” suit that were a little snug. Then I thought. Doesn’t he remember wearing the blue flannel suit to our daughter’s Christening in December of 1991? How in the world could he do that? Just throw it out.
I still have the green silk outfit with spit up on the shoulder, which has been cleaned numerous times, that I wore to Ben’s Christening in December of 1996. It is too big, thank God. And, I doubt if I will ever wear it again, but it reminds me of a very special day. Of course, if the truth be known I think I am holding on to it because I paid too much for the outfit. I bought it because I had a wild five 1/2 year old and a 6 month old when I was shopping for something special to wear to his Infant Baptism. I went to Steinmart and it was just too hard. No special attention. Where could I put that stroller in that small dressing room? So, while Camille was in preschool one morning I went to one of my favorite boutiques to try on clothes while the sales girl held my little one and told me how great I looked. The purchase was worth it. I felt great on the big day and the outfit is carefully tucked away in my armoire downstairs. I just don’t think I’ll part with it.
How could Allen be so detached? He just plucked the suits out of his closet and tossed them in a pile without the faintest expression on his face. “I could find room for them somewhere.” I pleaded. “No, it was time,” he said.
I told him how I had actually panicked when I had finally cleaned out my closet in a fit of Spring cleaning back in 2000. One dress in particular was the dress I had on when he and I had reunited after a six month break-up in 1986 prior to our engagement. “You know the dress. It was chambray with a high neck and a peplum.” I remembered how he had remarked how nice it looked on me and of course it was a special day so it was a special dress. Allen told me he was trying to remember the dress, but he didn’t know what I was describing.. The chambray and peplum, what are you talking about?” he asked. “The dress was light blue with a ruffle on my ass.” I said. “Oh, that dress. Yes. I remember that one.” I could see I had sparked his memory.
I did grieve as I put the dress in a box to give to the Goodwill. Would another girl wear the dress and hold onto it for for 14 years as I had. I doubt it. That look has not been back around. Yet. Somehow, I think that someone probably had a hoot as they picked it up on the thrift rack to wear to an 80’s party. I still miss that dress. Just knowing it was there gave me a sense of comfort. Even if I somehow knew I would never wear it again, I still had it.
I do routinely clean out my closets. I believe in the idea that if I haven’t worn it for a year, then I should pass it on. But, I don’t just stand at my closet and snap a piece out and throw in a pile. I carefully take out the piece of clothing and look it over. I stop to think what type of mood I was in when I bought it, where I wore it-was it a special occasion; how did it make feel when I wore it; how much it cost and if there is a possibility that I may ever wear again? If it does make it to the discard pile, there is usually a rapid heartbeat; my eyes kind of squint; I hold my breath and there it is. In the pile. The pile that I must part with. It is done. Over. Finished. Be still my heart. Then, I am off to my favorite boutique to make more memories.