Sunday, August 7, 2011

Oh, Cactus Skirt.

I did not feel the full extent of my love for you until you were almost taken from me. I got into a cab with some lovely ladies from Arizona and we listened to the driver talk about Steve Jobs and Buddhist temples and living in Tokyo. The driver kept saying, "My wife talk talk talk talk talk," while making the blabbing motion with his hand. I wondered if his wife was just his alter-ego, like the guy in the movie "Psycho," who dressed up in his mother's clothes. 

I had put my little suitcase in the trunk with you inside, but as soon as we got out, the driver sped away. Julie said, "I feel like this is all my fault!" She seemed more distraught than I was. "It's okay," I assured her. "Why would this be your fault?"

"What was the most valuable thing you had in there?" Ginny asked. "Make-up," I answered. On second thought, I said, "My cactus skirt." I let out a sigh. The make-up was replaceable. The suitcase I won in a raffle. My underwear had been discolored in the wash. The shoes were beginning to fall apart and the pair of jeans made my butt look big. I was happy to be rid of those other items.

But you, cactus skirt, I made you. I picked out the bright green fabric. I altered the pattern so you fit me perfectly. Every time I zipped you up, I thought, "Oh, cactus skirt, you know me so well." When we were together, we made people jealous, whether they were sartorially-challenged or fashion-savvy, male or female. They all wished they had cactus skirts too. When I washed you, I gave you extra fabric softener to show my appreciation.

Now the cab driver was going to wear you and pretend to be his wife when he got off work. His hairy man legs would compete with the prickly needles on the pattern. Ugh. The thought of you with someone else bleached my outlook on life.

I told my friends I needed to run some errands, and I'd meet them at the arched entrance of Rose Street for dinner at 7. I did my errands and tried to comfort myself. I had huge bags of fabric at home. I still had the altered pattern, the tissue paper folded in the envelope somewhere. I could make new skirts that fit me perfectly. I reminded myself of the blue velvet I bought years ago. I imagined a blue velvet skirt with two silk pleats in a different shade of blue. I still had that black and gold cashmere. But cashmere wasn't cacti. Not even close.

I sat on a bench at the archway of Rose Street and fell backward in a bush. The cactus-shaped void in my life had thrown me off balance. I pulled myself up and assumed my normal posture, like, "Yeah, I meant to fall in the bush, so what?" I read my boring book and waited for my friends to show up. I looked up from some drab paragraph just as Julie was getting out of the cab, and she was holding my suitcase! She bounded up to me. It was like the final scene of a romantic movie. Out of all the cab drivers in Mokpo, she happened to get the same driver twice.
In the most barren landscapes, life prospers. Prickly situations can end smoothly. Cactus skirt, you came back to me.


  1. hahaha! oh Meriwether, u are one funny chick -nani

  2. Thanks, Nani. You're the sweetest.