Today, we were working at the new house. There are always peculiar things that are left behind when a person leaves, things that you would not expect. Today I found a silk kimono. A lovely thing, violet with flowers and birds.
It shocked me, because a long time back, when I was a young woman, stationed in Korea, I had bought a silk kimono for myself, an extravagance, but I'd never had anything silk in my life, and I loved that kimono. It was the most beautiful thing that I'd ever owned, and whenever I slipped into it, I felt...I don't know...not pretty, maybe, but it felt luxurious, as if I had stepped outside the ordinariness of my life. It felt romantic. It was the sort of thing that people dream dreams in.
That kimono was lost in the chaos of my life, in the ending of a marriage, in the packing up of children, and moving across country. I never had any time to really think on it. Since I was that young woman in Korea, my life has changed, taken turns that I could have never expected, turns that if I'd have known they were coming, I couldn't have stood the knowledge.
But still, I am on the other side of much of it. I have mothered my children, I have made difficult choices, I have failed at some things, succeeded in others. I have a good husband. I can take pride in my children. I am recognized in my little community, and I have friends who love me. As far as material things...I couldn't have dreamed of what I have now. I have a job that satisfies my need to do good. Spiritually, I feel as if I'm headed where I need to be headed. My life is full.
Tonight, the laundry is done, folded, put away. I touched that kimono and feeling a bit foolish, I put it on. It IS beautiful, something that I'd have never thought to buy myself, but I put it on and the glistening material disguises that fact that I am lopsided. It disguises the curves that were not there in my 20s. I looked in the mirror and saw, for the first time in a long time, not what I am, but what I was. When I put that kimono on, it felt as if, for a moment, I had stepped outside the ordinariness of my life. It felt luxurious. Romantic, even. A 56 year old woman stood in front of the mirror, dreaming dreams.