Last May while I was dropping off decorative pillowcases at the dry cleaner I was struck by all the prom dresses that were hanging, cleaned and draped in plastic waiting to be picked up. I wondered about the young girls, who they were, what they wore, what their night was like, was it everything they had hoped for? And now what? What will become of that dress? Will it be worn again?
I recently saw a picture of myself in this fancy dress I wore on a New Year’s Eve when I was about 21 and it reminded me of the day at the dry cleaner’s. As you can see, it was black, velvet with a corset front – check..me..out! It was knee length and boy did I think I was rockin’. It was, after all, the 80s. The early 80s, even worse. With my naturally curly hair making for a very large head, I was a vision. A vision of what, I’m not sure.
What I look at that picture I think about how complicated that girl’s life had already started to become ( long story for another day) but also how innocent she was and how much would come her way. All the wonderful things that life would bring her and all the challenging moments that will force her to grow and learn.
On that New Year’s Eve as I said goodbye to my parents I couldn’t have imagined the day, less than 20 years in the future when they would both be gone; one as a result of a horrific accident and the other from grips of lung cancer. The disappointments that come with growing up and moving through my 20s, 30s and beyond. Living through a failed first marriage that I finally, with age and wisdom, take at least 50% responsibility for that failure.
That girl had no idea on that New Year’s Eve how many career re-inventions should go through (and love every one of them). Or the intense sense of failure and sadness that she would feel from not having children and then over time accepting what life had presented.
The girl would have been delighted to know about all the incredible people she would meet, the dear friends she would cherish along the way. That young girl, years after that photo was taken, would meet and marry the love of her life. An incredible life, a real person’s life was waiting for the girl in the black velvet dress.