When I first saw you I felt dazed. A hailstorm of emotions had pelted my nervous system all through the night. Now, I was ready to sleep. Ready to see family too, but mostly - ready to sleep. For awhile.
But, then - there you were. I smiled assuredly and praised myself for making it through my cross-country flight unscathed: an accomplishment so easy for most, but one that was wildly difficult for me. Fellow passengers traipsed by me as I struggled to stuff my US Magazine splattered with Kardashian headlines into my over-sized, tattered carry-on I've had since college.
I looked at you in wonderment, brows furrowed. I thought of how I needed you. I needed you to cover my droopy eyes offset by dark, puffy circles: a direct result of my seemingly insurmountable fear of flying and consequent inability to sleep through red-eyes. I needed you to make me feel emboldened. I needed you to help me dodge the inevitable question I'd get from my mom the moment I walked through the door. "You look tired!! Are you tired?"
"Ma'am?" the salesman jolted me out of my Xanax-induced haze.
"Would you like to try those on?"
"Yeah, sure. Okay." I responded as I continued to gape at you as though I was at one of those inexplicably fascinating sex shows in Amsterdam. I picked you up gingerly and pulled you over my smudged eye makeup. You hugged my face like a glove (a glove that would be considered the opposite of the one OJ Simpson tried on in court). You also covered almost half of it, which I liked; maintaining eye contact is not one of my strong suits, nor is applying eyeliner with a steady hand.
I think briefly about the slew of sunglasses I've had through the years. I think about the ones I stepped on and broke in Napa after too much wine-tasting. I think about the Oakley's I stole from my big brother when I was a teenager that were so tragic looking that my mouth contorts into a Grumpy Cat-like grimace when I think of how often I wore them in public. I think about the fugly
But I'd take care of you, I thought. You'd be different.
"How much?" I pried.
"$165.00," he responded.
"I'll take them!" I say as I remind myself that I've earned you. You are fucking mine, I thought. I don't have to buy you like I have to to pay my rent or my water bill. But I want you and I'm going to get you. There has to be a positive reason I spend 8 hours of my day in a heinous office complete with a defunct water cooler and rachet carpeting, I told myself.
I didn't realize at the time just how helpful you'd be...how you'd be with me day in and day out.
I wore you to and from my unfulfilling job each day. You helped conceal my empty, hollow eyes as I trudged up the steps onto my bus in the mornings, en route to a place I considered a youth + life vacuum.
I wore you on a Sunday morning in May as I stumbled down a random street to wait for my Uber after a late night party that had turned into an early morning one. I thought of how grateful I was to have had you in my purse that morning. You hid my bloodshot, half-open eyes from fellow pedestrians, early morning runners, mothers with strollers and that crossing guard who greeted me with a "nice morning, isn't it!?" For me, it wasn't a nice morning. It was one of those mornings I realized I'm too old to be acting like I'm not too old.
I wore you in my Uber the day I found out my dad had retired from his job. You caught my tears and hid the disassociation in my eyes as I feigned interest in my chatty driver's story about his various side jobs. "Uh huh," I'd chime in methodically every 30 seconds or so all the while attempting to accept time and the inevitable changes it brings. I associate my Dad with going to work every day and how happy it makes him. Will he still be happy? I thought. Do I need to be closer to my parents? Am I selfish for being all the way out here in California?
I wore you the day I up and left that youth + fun vacuum I mentioned earlier. My head hung low as I walked down Market street to the ice cream store contemplating what my next life move would be. You kept falling down. I kept having to pull you back up. I needed to get you more secure. It was all kind of like a metaphor for how life works I guess.
I set you across the table from me the night I did something that 7 years ago I never imagined I could do: eat dinner alone in a crowded restaurant. It was a monumental moment for me - someone who once too chickenshit to walk into a party alone could now dine solo on a Thursday night in San Francisco. You reminded me of how far I've come, but also of how far I need to go - let's face it, I put you there so it looked like someone was meeting me because life is a work in progress. Baby steps.
You were with me through mostly everything over the last couple years - if not pulled over my eyes or on top of my head then by my side in my bag. I found comfort in reaching down and feeling you at the bottom of my purse among loose gummy bears and receipts.
So when I rifled through my bag on a rainy day last week and didn't feel you, my heart sank. I retraced my steps looking for you. You were gone. I chastised myself for feeling so sad about losing something inanimate, then I gently reminded myself that there are far more important things to be concerned about - like the fact that our country is about to be led by the former host of a show that starred Gary Bussey and that chick from Real Housewives of New Jersey - you know, the one with little forehead (twohead?) who got her ass thrown in jail for tax evasion AND OH MY GOD I REFUSE TO GO DOWN THIS POLITICAL RABBIT HOLE, I'M NOT INFORMED ENOUGH AND FUCKING A, CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?
But I digress. They say everything happens for a reason. I think they're right. I think you served your purpose and are now tucked somewhere in the dismal, bottomless abyss with my debit cards,
So now, I'll say good-bye.
For being a reminder of the times in my life when I felt the most human.
Seriously, thanks. For that.