Saturday, June 03, 2006

The prodigal pants

The dry cleaner lost My Beloved's pants. It wouldn't have been so bad except that they were the bottom half of one of his only two suits. I took in a completely replaceable blue dress shirt and a pair of pants that would render the matching suit jacket (at home in the closet) useless if something happened to them. And naturally they lost the pants.


As I was standing at the desk watching the clerk frantically zipping through the endless line of strangers' clothes in a vain search for the missing trousers, I realized (with a sudden and stupid panic) that those pants belonged to the suit My Beloved wore to Thomas' funeral.

I have a vicious attachment to everything from that time - from Thomas' time - and I need to be the one in control of what stays and what goes and when the departures are scheduled. We donated the nursery supplies (creams, diapers, etc.) to an unwed mother's shelter immediately, and other items I wasn't too attached too (like the diaper bag and boppy pillow) went a few months later. But It took me a full year to give away the crib bedding and nursery set. I had to pick just the right time and really feel it.

It's just the way it is when you're letting go of things that are worth so much more than they may appear to on the surface.

I'm aware that at some point the suit My Beloved wore to Thomas' funeral will join all our other discarded clothes in garbage bags bound for charities. I know he won't have it forever. But I just didn't want the pants to go this way - lost in a sea of other peoples' pants or trapped in the closet of a stranger too disorganized to return them.

I was upset, yes, but not mad. I remained calm and repeatedly assured the frantic clerk that it was okay. Even though it really wasn't. Aside from the sentimental attachment, I knew the loss would mean we'd have to buy a whole new suit. A task that wouldn't particularly please either of us (the one that worries about money or the other that finds shopping boring).

But regardless, I just couldn't be mad at her. It's not her fault that a black cloud seems to follow My Beloved and I where'er we go these days. I was tempting fate by relinquishing something of value and foolish to expect it to return unscathed.

Life just doesn't work that way anymore. Fate isn't always kind, so the best thing to do is be prepared to lose your pants.

Seriously, this is totally our kind of luck.

I mean, I realize the two of us make it through every day without major injury, we have a roof over our heads, we have food on the table, we have money coming into the house and we're relatively sane. Most days.

But if someone's going to lose a pair of pants at the dry cleaners, you can bet it'll be one of us.

As I pondered this new development, I realized that maybe I could use the missing pants to my advantage. I told My Beloved that maybe I should offer God a deal. The pants for a take-home baby.

"I'll tell him he can keep the pants," I said, "if he sends us a baby."

I imagine God probably doesn't work this way and wouldn't think pants for a baby is a fair deal even if he did - despite the fact that the pants have the added value of being part of a suit - but hell, anything's worth a shot at this point, right?

This afternoon the dry cleaner called back with good news. Someone returned the pants and they're available for pick-up. They're no longer lost. They're safe and sound. Hooray!

"I guess God didn't like the deal", I said to My Beloved as we headed out the door this afternoon.

"Well," he said thoughtfully, "I guess sometimes all you get is your pants back."



kate said...

I'm glad they found the pants! No, I don't think God works that way, so i am glad you got the pants back anyway. I also have a vicious (the perfect word!) attachment to everything from that time. I still have all the credit card receipts from March 2003.

But, come to think of it, i have no clue what Michael wore to Nicolas' funeral. By process of elimination, it must have been his grey suit..then a white shirt, and pink & grey tie...the same outfit he wore to his grandmother's funeral, and i would have picked that out for him. But i have no memory of it. Odd.

Emma's Mum said...

I am glad you got your pants back! As you said, it is about so much more than just the pants.....I know how you just wnat to hold onto everything connected to that time. I still need to go through my purse which is filled with things from the weeks before Emma was born. I can't bring myself to look at everything yet. A few weeks ago, I found the receipt from the home preg. test that I bought last Sept. and that did me in for a few days. Just a small piece of paper. Just a date. Just an idea that everything used to be happy and moving toward something even happier. I don't think I will ever again wear the sweater I had on the night Emma died, but I can't bring myself to get rid of it. It is in the drawer with all the baby stuff. Maybe one day....but for now, everything is a reminder and we still need to keep those little things around us, don't we?

lauralu said...

i, too, am obsessive about all things hans-related. the one thing i let leave the house was his mobile; my best friend was looking for one for her baby, had already admired ours, and i thought it would be a nice way of sharing a little bit of hans. now, i am freaking out about getting it back. her son is too old for it now, and she knows we're putting the nursery back together - and i'm convinced something has happened to it and i have daily panic attacks about it. a freaking mobile.

ess said...

Honey?... Have you seen my pants?