Living with Kelly comes with many perks – she cooks wonderful meals, empties the dishwasher, lets me put my feet in her lap while we plow our way through episode after episode of “Nurse Jackie” on demand, and of course lets me borrow her clothes. Within days of her moving in I had already pilfered a few of her choice argyle sweaters and she had plundered my collection of button down shirts. So when I returned home the other day to a pile of clothes in the living room and Kelly’s excited proclamation she had gone shopping my first thought of course was “what can I borrow?” Her pants were out of the question as Kelly’s inseam is a good four inches shorter than mine, although there was some promise in a few of the new tops. Then she showed me the vest.
It was pink — bright pink velour with rows of satiny trim on the collar and the unfortunately placed pockets. I bit back my initial reaction of “are you kidding me?” and smiled and murmured a vague “mmmmmm” instead. Now Kelly is no fool. One of the things I love best about her is she always knows what I’m thinking – sometimes even before I do. She knew I didn’t like the vest and she plotted the perfect moment to wear it.
This morning Kelly showered as I curled up with my coffee and contemplated the day ahead – some grocery shopping, a quick errand at Home Depot and then afternoon rehearsal followed by a pint or two at a nearby Irish Pub. It was the perfect agenda for a gray day that would bring the first fat wet snowflakes of the year. “I’m all set!” Kelly called and I unfolded myself from the couch and headed upstairs to shower. There she stood in our bedroom in all her glory, jeans, black long sleeve t-shirt and….the vest. To complete the look she had added hot pink socks and her sturdy black nursing clogs. As I groped carefully for my response she smiled wickedly, zipped the vest, stroked the velour and said “oooh yeah baby…. You hate this don’t you?”
Later in the car I got lost in the rhythm of the windshield wipers Kelly asked what I was going to write about next and I replied “that vest.” We spent the next ten-fifteen minutes coming up with lines for my blog ranging from “the bejeweled zipper pull momentarily blinded me,” to “her popped collar and matching pink socks sent me flashing back to 1986,” to “I didn’t know there was that much pink velour still in existence.” Laughing to the point of tears, we pulled into the grocery store parking lot where I said “you go on ahead, I’ll catch up with you.” “Oh no lady,” Kelly replied, “you can’t lose me in this vest, I’m like a beacon in the night. As we entered the store I thought of how much laughter Kelly has brought into my life, the way my heart feels lighter when I’m with her, the way she inspires me to follow my passions, see beauty in myself, and let go of so many of my anxieties. This quiet reverie came to an abrupt halt when Kelly turned to me, smoothed the vest, sucked in her cheeks, struck a pose and said “just be glad I didn’t get the matching pants.”
What I didn’t say — what I should have said –is that even in matching pink velour track pants there is no one I’d rather be seen with.