Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordy Wednesdays: The Jumpsuit Queen

The last time I went to Goodwill, there was an abundance of jumpsuits. Normally, there will be a few, but this time I found about 20. It was baffling - like someone with a collection had recently sworn them off. Or died. But that's a bit morbid.

She had always been a woman of style, and even in her twenty-eight-year repose, she looked stunning.

The endless hospital vigils had long passed, but her family still gathered at her bedside for momentous occasions. Chanukkah had been her favorite holiday, and so they always came together for the last night and lit an electric menorah on her windowsill. They hoped she could sense the flickering light bulbs; they wished candles were allowed in the hospital.

She had been in a coma since 1984. They had long ago given-up hope that she would awaken, but still could not bear to let her go. So she waited endlessly in the hospital through years and years of changes, remaining ever as she was.

But that night, the final night of Chanukkah, a miracle occurred. With no preamble, she sighed heavily, and her eyelids fluttered open. Her family gasped in shock and awe. Slowly, she leaned toward her husband and reached tenderly for his hand. He grasped her small fingers, and marveled at the strength in her grip. For years, he had stroked those limp little hands, and he had long ago forgotten their power. But finally, she was awake! She blinked her eyes against the light, and strained to make sense of the shadows she saw before her. When her husband's face came into focus, she gasped. Instinctively, her grip softened, and they smiled together as reflections of joy. She threw herself forward and flung her arms around his shoulders. Groggily, she whispered, "What are they wearing these days?" For she was always a woman of style.

Tears filled his eyes; this news might crush her. "Not jumpsuits, dear."

She could not control the pained cry that ripped through her. Her daughters held each other and wept for everything their dear mother had lost. Twenty-eight long years had passed, taking with them countless memories: the daughters' weddings, the births of three grandchildren, the death of a sister - and now this.

But she was still a woman of style. "Fine," she said - and she wept no more. The time for grief had passed.

Two weeks later, when she was finally released from the hospital, she went home and packed her jumpsuits away. She did so without remorse. That night, her husband drove the boxes to Goodwill - she did not go. She sat at home with her daughter, holding an iPad, wearing separates. 


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