We had an AFS student from Norway when I was in high school. She was almost six feet tall, blonde, fit and ready to be fierce. I was kind kind of dumpy white girl-gone-tanned-in-Aspen brown, pretty face, curvy, (or sturdy - as more liberal friends would say.) We embraced the mission. From day one, we were sisters! My family is her family. Her family is my family. Wow!
What a relief that she became the top Public Defender in Norway. (Yes, we shared spirit drenching conversations last time we saw each other. She is representing that serial killer (77 dead) who now faces sentencing.) We love each other deeply and even time and space will never separate us.
How much we loved her yelling, “Dad! Dad!” after my cinnamon Daddy. We all loved arresting every human being within ear and eye-shot …at Saks 5...the country club…whatever place we had already transgressed with our Blackness. Just honoring a mission. A mission which allows her to be an attorney. A mission which has made her everything I need not strive to be. A mission of doing what you are best at regardless of what anyone else thinks you ought be.
(Honestly, my father was right. It is too tiresome and truly against my nature to enter into the head of a serial killer and give him a right and fair trial. Let my sister defend the mass-murderer. Let me mine all of the questions. Let answers fall out of my mouth like the diamonds of the fairy-tale girl. Let them cut my mouth.)
Let me smile and hold a mission which says, "you aren't going to write about any of this are you?"
But, didn’t we always look so awesome in our matching outfits?
So the dream. My dear AFS sister is here for a visit. There will be a great party to celebrate her. She is the perfect daughter and I am so glad that I do not have to be. I am filled with gratitude! All spotlight on the most appropriate! I heave sobs in my husband’s arms at nights after these about gratitude and the freedom to take liberty.
In this dream, my house has a lovely “his and her” bathroom that my sister and I share. Both of us can shower, choose our clothes from the huge walk-in closet, and chat without being too much in each other’s face.
Well, she is showering. I don’t remember her shower stall having a sit-down ledge. But there she is relaxing; sitting down; her long legs stretched up in the air; the razor moving precise and perfect down toned legs. Getting ready in 10 minutes perfect.
Me? I’ve showered. And I am walking around this massive closet. Everything that fits - and is appropriate - is either too big or too small. And it will be hot outside. I need something loose and flowing. Something that makes my size 12 frame look as good as her size 6. (We don’t wear matching frocks anymore.)
I riffle through the clothes and come across a perfect dress which fits me exquisitely. Proportioned well enough to let me breath freely and yet tight enough to show that I am not a “gym avoider.”
It is made of black leather, it has buckles and straps which accentuate all of the right places viewers should observe. No. This is not the cocktail frock for this event. I place it back on the bar.
There is a sailor dress to the right. But, that hangs on me. It shows every single way I was once fat.
There is a sweet not quite Black Watch plaid jumper reminiscent of our school days. It fits perfectly! Except, nobody could see my waist. And that is where she and I always differed. It’s why I looked so “sturdy” next to her. She was rail thin perfect. I had curves which could jack up the train. We were quite the team.
Finally, I find an A-line, delicate chiffon circa 1950’s frock I must have inherited from my Aunt Billy. Delicate perfection, it is sheer. But, not too sheer. I happen to be wearing the exactly perfect colored bra to go underneath it.
(I must have worn this once when I was 14 years old, but, with combat boots, ripped fishnet stockings and that wide flaring petticoat.)
But, tonight, I can pair it with delicate flats, a string of husband-gifted pearls and naked legs which need no shaving due to “good” genetics. If only I can find the petticoat. And there it is! I put my right leg inside the waist.
That is when my husband wakes me. Putting on the petticoat; being myself and acceptable.