I have a thing for sleepwear. I like cotton nightgowns, silk nightshirts and girly pajamas. I own six bathrobes; one of them purported to be “The Softest Robe Ever”. It’s soft, alright. It’s also very fluffy, and putting it on makes me feel like a lavender-hued Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I hold on to it for those two or three days a year when the temperature dips so low that warmth trumps frump.
Two of my robes are girly. The silky peach one channels Hedy Lamarr. The sheer black one was an impulse purchase from a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. It has bright pink feathers at the collar and cuffs. I’ve never worn it. But you never know…
The red robe is short, made of cotton and features a very large dragon embroidered down the back. It’s one of my favorites. Depending on my mood while wearing it, I either feel like a prize fighter or a naughty Geisha.
The black one is heavy and hooded and used to belong to a man. It’s a Bill Blass. 1998 was a very good year.
The one I wear is flannel and plaid, tartan plaid, in blues and greens. I remember tearing open the Christmas wrap covering the box it came in, and looking around to see what my sisters’ robes looked like. For several years, since we all had married, my mother bought four of the same thing in different colors. One year it was sweaters. Mine was beige. Have you seen me? Well you can’t if I wear beige.
Blue and green are not my colors either. I’m more a red and black or, better yet, a turquoise and silver kind of girl. And plaid? Honey, please…
And yet, that’s the robe I wear. I take care to make sure it hangs on the outside of the hook so that in the morning, as I stumble out of my bedroom and into the bathroom, I can grab it without thinking.
This morning I noticed a hole…a slice really…in the back. The fabric around the slice was thin, very thin; thin enough to make me wonder if the slice wasn’t really a tear; a surrender to time. The discovery inspired me to inspect further. As it turns out, there are lots of holes, some of them bigger than others.
But, you would expect that in a 30 year old robe.
This morning, as I drew the robe around me, I felt her.
I imagined her hands on the robe, as she chose it, as she wrapped it, and the image comforted me.
“It’s going to be alright.”, Mom whispered. “You’ll be fine. He’s here with me, you know. Your boy is here with me.”
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