Jeremy Irons once said, “We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they’re called memories. Some take us forward, they’re called dreams.”
It’s the time of year when we go through our stuff and decide what to discard and what to keep. We are all sure to encounter a memory or a dream while sifting. I have long known that it is not the ‘stuff’ that is the real problem, but the memories that are attached to it.
Recently, as I was sorting the stuff from my lingerie drawer that had seen its day, I came across a memory that had once been a hope. The item is now tattered and sort of gray… where once it had been snowy white. I threw it away, but I guess I am preserving it by writing about it.
I had been admiring the nightgown for weeks. It was a Grecian, sexy and romantic beauty for only $29.00 (obviously a long time back).
The white nightgown had a gold Roman key design running across the bodice and down the side of a daringly high slit. It was a voluminous number with lots of sheer layers, and was to be worn off the shoulder on one side.
I was married then, and our anniversary was coming up. I planned a romantic evening with wine chilling and candles everywhere. The gown had been purchased with every bit of the spare change I had been hoarding. When the long anticipated night arrived, I went into the master bath to prepare myself. The object of my affection waited in the bedroom, sipping the champagne which he had stepped out of character to buy.
It was quite a while before I could navigate myself through the many layers. Finally, I thought I had it! Oops… my head began to emerge from the armhole. I slipped it off and tried again and that time my arm came out of the head hole.
Meanwhile, my partner was becoming impatient, “What is taking so long?” he snarled in an impatient voice. He kept complaining louder and louder, so I responded in kind. It seemed we were never on the same page, and so, frequently butted heads.
On my next try, my head and arm came together out of one hole. It was then I realized how stuck I really was.
I called to my husband for help. He demanded I come out and stop all this silly fooling around. That was too humiliating, so I screamed, “NEVER MIND!”
Suddenly I heard it… that tearing sound… a rip.
I dissolved on the floor in tears, stuck in the creation.
I had imagined myself a goddess, a Cleopatra, a sexy dark-haired temptress. I was a klutz, that’s all I was.
In the meantime, the husband fell asleep and was snoring heavily, the champagne bottle beside him.
Making one last try, it all fell together. I glanced in my full-length mirror and liked what I saw, but it was too late. Carefully folding the tear-stained gauze, I retired it in a drawer, together with my dreams. Grabbing my old fuzzy pink shorty nightgown and the leftover champagne, I went downstairs.
An hour later my doorbell rang. It was my brother Ray. He helped me finish the wine, told me I was beautiful, and wiped away my tears.
I think that was the night I began to know my marriage was finished, and I knew I wouldn’t be wearing that little number again any time soon.
I got rid of the man, but kept the nightgown, which became a hope, and, by the way, I wore it again.
Years later, I went to the movies with a friend. The film was “A New Leaf” with Walter Matthau. His wife was wearing my nightgown on their wedding night. I watched as she tried to get into it…. soon she was as entangled as I once was, getting the neck and armholes all mixed up.
I fell off my seat laughing. My friend was horrified at my uncontrollable madness, and I was having trouble not wetting my pants.
After a while, I began to calm down. On the screen, Walter was patiently adjusting his wife’s gown. They kissed. He told her she looked beautiful. It was a happy ending.
Memories, hopes, stuff. What we all really want is for our dreams to one day come true. Mine did. May yours, too.