Aspirational Fanfiction About Clothing I Can Not Afford: Part 2
I am still not ashamed of my shallow tendancies
So I started fantasizing about the person I would be if I could have all of the clothes I wanted. Not Carrie Bradshaw, all delicate and Bambi legs and doe eyes. No. I would be a succubus, a siren, eternal and commanding and a mystery and a queen and a beast.
This woman with money for clothes, she’s not the post-grad immigrant vessel for panic that I wake up in the body of every day.
She’s got hella clothes. Sometimes they’re expensive. Sometimes they’re disgustingly on-trend and probably belong on the body of a teenager, not a twenty-something. But they’re always just a single facet of her legacy — whoever this other woman is. I like her. So here are the next three installments and here I am again, pretending pretty items of clothing weigh more than the sum of their cotton, their nylon, their spandex.
Look, there’s this vest with lace straps on Urban Outfitters.com. It’s not anything special, a basic if anything, black, the usual, wear it with anything kind-of-thing. But get this, there’s a gap in the back of it. Like almost all of my back would be uncovered, but for two thick straps of lace down each side. You could see the tender little rolls of pale fat like the tires of a girl-child’s bicycle, the occasional protruding shoulder blade, the nub of my spine at the top and some days when the wind is just the right shade of wrong I begin to bloom — few fingers of bone pulling their way out my back, out my body, out into the world. They extend like the branches of a clumsy tree, they are capillaries and lightning bolts, crooked veins of bone until the feathers erupt, grey and speckled and white, like a time lapse video of a flower waking up. I will rise in new flight above the traffic, above the hills and my flight will be a terror — teenagers will clutch their camera-phones and the footage will be grainy, like footage always is of horrors, of miracles.
Look, there are these leggings on Romwe.com. They are printed with the stained glass image of great church windows, kaleidoscopic with saints and holy mothers praying or ascending or suffering, their halos copper discs, their hands pressed together, their faces in rapture. They will begin small at my ankles and be pulled out by the muscle and weight of my legs, the bulk of my knees, the dimples of my thighs; my legs will become an altar, a cathedral and the light from inside my body will illuminate these prisms of window, of glass, of holy, holy and when I walk up to the club the earth will shudder in that same rapture sing glory, glory. The smoke from the machine behind the DJ parts like the ocean where I stand, my hips sway the angelus. As I dance on the dark floor by the bar Christ weeps he says, Girl you dance the hallelujah, there are tears on his cheeks again, he says, Your body is a house of God.
Look, there’s this flower crown on Urban Outfitters.com. Yeah, I know, a flower crown, a fat garland of peach and plum-looking plastic flowers on a ring of elastic, intended to be worn around the sunkissed tresses of girls in their teens. It’s not like I’m pretending to be younger than I am by wearing it, disguising myself as girl when I am no longer that, when I have suddenly against my will become ‘the nice lady’ or ‘ma’am.’ It’s not like wearing it somehow gives me an immortality, that’s so funny, no, no it’s not like wearing it suddenly absorbs my fresh grey hairs, my alarming breast pain, my cellulite, nah man it’s just a crown. I mean it’s not like it pulls the wrinkles and university and unemployment and loss left in my brow. It’s not like I am suddenly a maiden, suddenly defying the creeping thirties, suddenly Dorian Grey-gorgeous all gaiety and remorseless, violent youth. It’s not like the plastic of the flowers has been wilting for years now, as my husband ages, as the cat bloats and dies, it’s not like the blush they once were is now a gnarled thicket of sins my face never took, nah that’s crazy, it’s not like the years and the roses are one and I am left forever a fresh faced beauty queen, eternally rookie, eternally teen dream, Laura Palmer eat your heart out, no it’s just a flower garland no it saved me from nothing it granted me nothing I just sleep well, I just look OK for my age, for my ages, my centuries, no big deal, not at all.