Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My Mother's Red Coat

Today was cold and cloudy with lots of errands to run. Really a drab day: gray weather, boring errands, cheerless mood. Opening the closet door to grab a jacket I found my mother's red suede coat. It has been hanging there for almost 5 years. When she died, I went through her things, alone most days (my brother lived 10 hours away), tossing some things, putting others in a pile for charity. Then I came to this coat. She loved this coat. I remember when she got it. She and my dad were out shopping for, I don't know what, when she spotted the coat. She tried it on for fun, the color and impractibility of it calling to her. It lit up her eyes and her complexion, and I imagine my dad could not resist getting it for her. She protested, she was after all a sensible woman, the Depression, a World War and growing up fatherless and poor had ingrained commonsense into her. A red suede coat was the height impracticality. Too expensive, it drew attention, it couldn't be worn everyday, she reasoned; she knew every excuse not to buy it. But my father had only one reason: it made her happy. And so the red suede coat was hers. So when I found it in her closet a few weeks after she died, I knew I had to keep it. All this time it's hung in my closet, unworn. It's too big. doesn't fit, I reasoned. But today it called to me. I put it on and ran my errands. Did it light up my eyes and complexion? I don't know, but it lit up my day.