I looked in my closet yesterday and took note of all the articles of clothing I have for occasions that will probably never happen. There’s a sexy dress in there for some kind of red carpet-y moment (yes, lol). There’s also a kind of earthy “lisa bonet” art gallery opening kinda dress. These dresses sit in my closet challenging me a bit, taunting “why haven’t you lived the life where we get to be worn loser?” But the fact is I love my jeans and a t-shirt life. ALL the best experiences I’ve ever had weren’t in heels and a dress.
I remember marveling at the clothing in my mom’s closet when I was a little girl. She had her usual array of nice clothing for dinners out at Sizzler, but there were a few that dazzled with shiny fabric, sequins delicately sewn in, that reminded me of something Joan Rivers would wear on the red carpet (flashy yet age appropriate). These dresses distinguished themselves from the rest by being covered in a garment bag and smelling slightly of mothballs. I had seen her wear these outfits maybe once, and even then, they were too dressy and a little forced for the occasion. I always wanted life to bring her the moments for those dresses.
At the end of her losing battle with cancer, we went through her clothing to donate. I had to ask the most painful question I’ve ever asked: “which dress do you want to be buried in?” From her bed she pointed to one of the three garment bags. It was the light gray St. John dress that probably cost over a thousand dollars. It had a sparkle that reflected in the knit. And this was the occasion she chose for it, a girl who worked in a factory and waited tables her whole life.
By now, her body has decomposed and I sometimes wonder the condition of that dress. I like to imagine that she is still there beautifully preserved and looking like a movie star, sparkly like her wild, funny, and boisterous personality deserved in every inch of that dress.