I followed my 93-year-old mother into a lingerie shop and immediately squared off with mannequins wearing skimpy multi-hued teddies. I squinted at the plastic bodies, mentally evaluating my ability to squeeze into such delicate and reveling apparel, and had to stop myself from laughing out loud.
As my mom approached the counter, I considered the last time I’d ventured into a store of this type, and, quite frankly, could not remember. As a child of the 60’s, I grew up in a time when women were burning their bras, so it didn’t seem strange that, at 16, I decided I could do without that particular piece of apparel.
Of course, I have worn bras over the years, but have always found them horribly uncomfortable, even those that had been “expertly” fit. And I have certainly donned a few that were no doubt designed by serious architects on those special occasions when one must put one’s best breast … um foot … forward.
Now, I faced the long wall displaying bras of every conceivable color, shape, and size. Pink, purple, black, and white, they dangled from hangers. Satiny bras, ones with buttons and hooks, wee trainer-types and others that could hold a basketball in each cup.
“Here, I brought them with me,” I heard my mother say. I watched her retrieve two crumpled clumps of fabric from a red cloth bag. “I’ve had this one twelve years.”
She ignored me.
“They’re not comfortable.” She blinked at the young lady behind the counter.
“Mom, why don’t you try a camisole? That’s what I wear. Just pull it over your head.” I pointed to a nearby rack where several were displayed.
Both my mother and the saleswoman stared as if I’d suggested something quite ridiculous.
“I never wear a bra.”
The sudden silence in the little shop was overwhelming. I thought I should backtrack my statement and inform them that I did wear sports bras when I worked out, but after quick consideration I wasn’t sure that particular revelation would help.
The buzz of women perusing bras started up again and when my mother was led to a dressing room, I was left alone with the dainty attire. Frilly white garters were displayed with thigh high stockings. Countless little bows popped up everywhere, making me wonder who had tied those tiny decorations.
Then, my eyes were drawn to a Kelly-green rectangle tied with a white shoelace. Intrigued, I walked over. I was astonished to find dishtowel displaying three black-and-white-clad figures, football officials signaling an illegal block, time out, and personal foul. A football-shaped bottle opener was attached.
Sometimes, when I’m dreaming, things that don’t belong in a particular setting periodically appear, but I was certainly awake. I wondered at the appearance of these football-themed objects, so out of place in a store awash in delicate female finery, and felt an instant kinship.
Then I heard my name. My mother appeared from the dressing room. Five feet tall, white hair, facing 94 in July.
“What do you think? I’m wearing the camisole.”
“It looks fine, Mom.”
She gazed down at her chest. “I think … it makes me look old.”
Often, in my life, I have blurted out my thoughts without thinking. “You are old, Mom.” Tickled my tongue. “Ancient, in fact. No one is looking at your boobs.” But you’d be proud of me, because I just nodded.
Later, my mother paid for her purchase. Not the camisole.
And, of course, I had to buy the dishtowel and football bottle opener.
Amphorae Publishing Group
Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.