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I’m naked. I stand in front of the mirror trying to figure out what my mother’s ass is doing on my body. I cup my hand to my mouth and suck in little breaths of air. I throw on a robe, unable to take it a second longer, then move to my closet and begin ripping through the clothes hanging there. Too brown. Too boring. Too desperate. Too old.

My fingers stop on a black Diane Furstenberg wrap top I had bought on sale, then sold on e-bay, then taken back even though it clearly said “no returns” on my listing. I lived in fear of negative feedback.

I slip off my robe and quickly slide the modal top over my strong shoulders. They had to be strong. They had survived a divorce. I somehow maneuver myself into a pair of jeans that are at least a size too tight, tug up a pair of hand-me-down Loubouin boots, throw a scarf around my neck, then take a step back to access the damage. Christ. I had posted a five-year old picture, which I then photoshopped, on my dating profile page. I had set him up for disappointment.

Looking more Shirley Jones than Farrah Fawcett.

Looking more Shirley Jones than Farrah Fawcett.

My daughter comes into the room.  “You look nice,” she says, then cocks her head studying me harder. “I won’t be late” I tell her. “We’re just meeting for a drink. Although I’ll probably just have tea.” The only thing I know for sure is that I’m going to be drinking alcohol and lots of it, but she’s a teenager and I feel the need to lie. “Okay, Mommy,” she says, somehow still sweet despite her age and the volcano of hormones coursing through her body. I look into her big, brown eyes and I know I’m not the only one vulnerable tonight.

I take one last look in the mirror. Get a hold of yourself.  You were a cheerleader.

I grab my bag, kiss my daughter good-night, then head out the door, my mother’s ass swaying behind me.

*****