The No-Paris Retail Therapy Blues

I bought a “bucket” bag yesterday at the mall, because the trip to Paris in the fall got cancelled and I won’t be spending that $3000-plus savings to share a room with a friend in the 4th arrondissement, sleeping on the roll-out bed, doing all the touristy things, visiting Monet’s garden, of course. So, why not indulge? The purse is expensive and I’m not completely in love. I told myself I have to buy a purse today and there’s no going back on that vow to myself, the self that needs to look so fine on the outside, figuring it’s going to penetrate the skin, the flesh and bones right into the churning mass of “What the H is going on in my life?” The designers name is in gold, stamped on the front of the purse, a first name that was my nickname when I was a hippy (Kate Spade, if you must know)—bell-bottoms and paisley blouses, weed and beer and pinochle into the early morning hours. Can you pick and choose the years of your life you’d like to glorify? Can you say, “That was the real me. The rest was an aberration, a self-induced trance?”

The purse is lightweight, which I like, has a pocket on the outside for my phone, which is a must. It’s blue leather with a flower print fabric says, “I’m not too serious about life” and “I’ve got a past you’ll never know.” I might be stretching it with that last statement, but I do crave to be enigmatic, to be a femme de mystère—most of my life having seen myself as that small-town girl with a cowlick and my father’s nose, maybe a little pretty, a little clever. I fill the purse with my wallet, keys, tissue, a pen or two, take it with me to the framers and grocers. It holds up well hung casually from my right shoulder, though no one said, “What an amazing purse,” or “You rock today.” Maybe they did notice, that I’ll never know. It’s an indulgence I may come to regret, but not right now, now in this moment, standing at a crossroads, picking up whatever pieces of myself I can find, trying on new things right and left and following the scent of what awaits–it’s the perfect move and maybe I’ll pick up a matching wallet next week. Who knows?

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