Monday, March 21, 2011

A Change of Clothes

    When she awoke, she stepped out of bed and into her fleece-lined slippers. She pushed her arms into the plush turquoise sleeves of a robe and belted it. She made coffee and read the paper. Then she stripped off robe and pajamas and wriggled into a black, spandex yoga outfit - flared pants and a sleeveless crop-top that exposed her navel. She unrolled her mat before the television and followed the tiny yoga instructor on screen for a dutiful 20 minutes.
    Utility sweat pants were next, topped by a large, shapeless t-shirt and cocooned in a wrap-around bibbed apron. She tied her hair up in a scarf and grabbed the telescoping duster. The house cleaner came Mondays and Thursdays, but there was always something that needed dusting in the far corners of the cathedral ceilings that towered above her throughout the house she'd won from her ex-husband.
    Her work clothes bundled up and stuffed in a laundry hamper for the house cleaner, she stepped into a steaming shower and applied various gels, soaps, conditioners and lotions. Then out for a skin-nourishing regimine of creams and anti-aging potions, while wrapped in a terry spa towel.  Black leggings, a black turtleneck, both with designer labels, tall leather boots, supple gloves a confusing shade between grey and lavendar, an artisan woven red coat that billowed open over her shapley form vanished in it's black sheath. She pinned a large, circular red hat to her head, as round and protective as a parasol and grabbed her metallic red clutch. She would go to town and shop for a bit before lunch. with friends at the Hotel ___.
    She wore the silk, hand-painted scarf out of the store, keeping the receipt and tissue in the clever little blue bag that bore the exclusive boutique's imprint. Lunch was a salad, bread spread with something rare pounded into olive oil, and a bottle of white wine shared with two fellow divorcees, in town for the theater. They air-kissed a brief good-bye as they were to meet again in the lobby, pre-show.
   At home, she slipped into her robe and lay on the sofa, a gelled mask over her eyes. She napped for two hours and then began preparations for her evening out. A quick step into the shower, her hair protected by a cap. A vigorous towel-down, more creams and a spritz each from three different colognes, in three different places. Layers of make-up were applied to smooth out her skin tone, hide wrinkles and highlight areas doomed by the night and dim theater lights. Silky undergarments, a lovely dress, jewels in her ears, rings, a necklace, stockings, a difficult choice of shoes, and finally, a small velvet evening bag that held her credit card and keys. A long tailored wool coat, gloves, and fluffy scarf got her out the door. The play was interminable. The house packed. A drink at intermission granted her the courage to continue, the drink and the promise of an intimate meal afterwards, at the new brasserie off the plaza where gentlemen friends of friends were engaged to meet them.
    Their coupling was brief. He retrieved his clothes from the tangled pile of garments on the floor and dressed in the bathroom. She pulled on a nightgown and clutched her robe shut. He was gallant at the door, then gone. She turned off lights and smoothed the sheets, slipping between their satin softness. She pulled the down comforter over herself, tucked it up under her chin and lowered the silk sleeping mask across her eyes. The familiar bed clothes her last change for the day.

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