Slowly slipping on a pair of suede point-toed pumps while attempting to balance yourself. Sneaking glances at the clock to check just how late you are. The click-clack sound of your heels hitting the payment as you rush to get to dinner. Getting caught in the rain and realizing you don’t have an umbrella because let’s face it, you never do. There was a time when you cared about perfectly blown out hair getting soaking wet but those times are gone. Turning a corner and slowing down upon seeing the restaurant. Opening the door, turning back the curtain and smiling as you see your husband across the room at the restaurant. A toast at the bar to celebrate being out in the world, together. Holding hands underneath the table as you dine al fresco and notice the feeling of being in close proximity to others.
I imagine the post-quarantine life to include us being insanely appreciative of all the seemingly minor things in life that are actually quite significant but none of us ever realized it. The very act of putting on heels transport me to a different time and place, a Narnia of sorts consisting of how things used to be and how they may be once again. I look at myself in the mirror wearing my favorite black slip dress with heels and immediately notice myself standing up a little straighter with my shoulders back. Hints of a smile make an appearance.
Like many of us, I have been living barefoot in quarantine, alternating yoga pants with sweatpants and then changing back into pajama pants. It feels nice seeing myself as I used to be. There’s something about dressing up with no where to go that allows you to really take your time and enjoy the process in a child-like way. In this instance, I feel like I’m back in my grandmother’s room as a little girl, wearing her scarves as skirts and trying on all her jewelry. I don’t mind settling for a little make-believe for now.
My daughter playing in the background brings me back to the present moment. As I Love the Rain by Lenny Kravitz plays in the background, I start dancing in place. Perry joins me and I spin her around in circles. We start laughing and dancing around the room. I kick off my shoes and resume my barefoot default, change into sweatpants, and wipe off my makeup. I come back into the room and find my daughter in the very same dress I was wearing, playing dress-up in her mama’s clothes.
Looking at her, I see myself when I was little – so eager to grow up but never truly understanding what that means until you’re already a grown-up. As she squeezes her arms against her body to hold the dress in place, she tells me about the wedding she’s planning on going to with her little brother – mommy’s wedding. I listen carefully and don’t interject to tell her my wedding was nine years ago. The details don’t matter. I just look at her and think about how much I love this moment, how much I love her every word. How one day she’ll be a grown-up with her own memories and maybe this will be one of them.
We both finish changing back to our everyday quarantine clothes. I hang up the slip dress, put my heels back on their shelf and we hold hands as we head downstairs for a snack. I smile as I catch the dress hanging in my closet next to its corresponding suede heels, knowing they will be there the next time we decide we need to have a dance party and pretend we’re on our way to a fancy wedding.
There will be a day soon that we will be back outside and there will be a need for heels again. Maybe life post-quarantine will have a similar story – reminiscent of the past but somehow entirely different. It’s a complicated time – we’re all worried about a loved one or ourselves getting infected by a virus, more than 30 million people have filed for unemployment, many of us are isolated at home for the collective good of society and there isn’t a clear end in sight. Sometimes it’s fun to dress up and play pretend for a little while.