May 20 2011

In the closet.

Portland is a city of hoods.  I am not talking about gangs or quaint residential areas but something very practical:  rain gear. For the majority of the year I’d be miserable, instead of fairly unfazed, if not for my tried and true, knee-length, lined, washable (ignore the label), black hooded raincoat.  Carry an umbrella around and people assume you are either a tourist or a Californian.

Ditching an umbrella is even more practical in Oklahoma where stronger winds blow heavier rains sideways.  In the Tulsa Airport I spotted a woman in my very same raincoat.  “Norm Thompson?” I paused to ask.  “Yes!” was the reply.  We’d both shopped online two years earlier – while both living in Portland.   What are the chances?

Raincoats don’t seem to go on sale in the Northwest (I have my cap set for a Mycra Pac full-length, if they do) but they are retired to the closet during the dry season.  I was hanging my faithful companion up this month when I noticed my wedding dress.

Call me curious. I decided to try on the dress I hadn’t worn for almost 23 years to the day.  On our first anniversary I was pregnant and outfitted in a lovely, shimmery tent, but on our second anniversary I switched out the white wedding day pumps for silver evening shoes and headed to a Tulsa Opera spring production, elegantly dressed in a tea-length, strapless gown.  If only bridesmaid dresses in the late 80’s had been so, well, so – practical!

As I slipped into the dress I imagined an extra three pounds of weight would show as much in a dress as under a hooded raincoat.   I was wrong!   Above my waist the two sides of the zipper didn’t have a chance of meeting.  Unless the gravity factor associated with aging and weight gain has reversed itself, I can only reason that my rib cage has expanded over the years to fit the much bigger, fuller, compassionate heart that once belonged to a young woman just opening her heart to love.