I was not allowed to go. Anywhere.
Well, that’s a broad statement, too broad. I could attend school, Confession on Saturdays, Mass on Sundays. The time in between these events, when I wasn’t doing chores, I spent in my room … a small converted sunporch at the back of the house.
My bed was a chair that unfolded into a flat metal frame with three hard cushions. It was not a comfortable sleep, but at least it didn’t take up much room.
I was a budding artist, the one thing I did that mother seemed to approve of. My art supplies included a small box of pastels, and I treasured those short stubby chalks. I got lost in the process of creating with them, while Bobby Vee played on my little record player.
One night, in the middle of summer, after being told I could not attend a party my friends were throwing, I went to my room. I was sixteen, and not allowed to wear makeup.I looked at my chalks, and something “other” happened. I took the pastel rose colored stick, and with tweezers, shaved a bit to create a pile of dust. I took the sable brown color, and did the same. Then, a water color brush. I touched the shaved blushy color and brushed it over my cheeks, spreading and blending with my fingertips. The brown color I swiped gently into the socket crease of my eyelid. I softened it with my fingers.
Then, I put some of the pink dust into a spot of Vaseline and touched it to my lips.I brushed my hair, and looked in the mirror. The difference was remarkable. Who was I? Who is she? I leaned my forehead against the reflection and thought, “I am ready for a party that may never come.”
That was almost sixty years ago. I was so young and so naive then, so full of dreams and wonder. The road from there to here has been extremely rough at times, but passable.The bed I sleep in now, and the beds my grandchildren sleep in when they visit, are beautiful and stationary. They are piled with down pillows and spread with the kind of cozy bedding that would make Goldilocks swoon; they are clouds of heaven. To tell you the truth, there are times when I check the clock to see if it’s too early to end the day, climb the stairs, and climb into my bed.
I can go anywhere I want, any time I want. There is no one to tell me I can’t. I am, at long last, the boss of me.
Do I still get ready for parties? Sometimes. When I want to. Not when I don’t.
And really, I’m beginning to think that the party I thought I was ready for so many years ago was, in fact, this life I’m living now.