In my dream, I am at TJ Maxx (a favorite haunt even in my waking life) rifling through the purses. I come across a large, gray alligator bag that I decide I must have. Randomly, for me, “alligator” translates to “Audrey Hepburn”. I have no explanation; this is just how my brain works.
When I say “large” purse I mean really large. I hang the purse on my shoulder and turn to the right to survey myself in the full-length mirror. The purse covers me from armpit to calf in length. The width exceeds my physical proportions by a good three feet on each side. I could easily accommodate two active toddlers in this accessory.
I realize the purse is over sized, but still, I tell myself, yes, I can make it work. Yes! I can work this purse! After all it is alligator, it is gray, it goes with everything! Cute!
My dream-self shifts the mega bag to the opposite shoulder and I survey my reflection from that angle in the mirror. I tilt my head from one side to the other. Bend this knee and that. Yep. Pit to calf, three feet on either side.
Still, incredibly, I remain optimistic about the possibilities. I don’t necessarily have to carry it on a shoulder, it’s not like it’s the law, I say to myself. I grasp the handle in my hand and begin sort of swinging it around. Not an easy feat while still keeping it off the ground, but I manage it.
I smile at my reflection. Damn, I say to myself, this is one sassy purse. The arc of my swinging becomes larger and more far-reaching. I begin pondering the method of payment I might utilize as I continue to swing: debit card? Visa? I’m positively giddy…
Suddenly, my madly swinging purse smacks into something solid. Solid, but a little, er, squishy.
Gasping, I whirl around to find…
…my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hall.
Her pale, watery blue eyes are just as I remember: each framed by three lonely carefully mascara-ed upper eyelashes. Mrs. Hall fixes me with a withering stare and extends a wrinkled forefinger:
“Suzanne, you know good and well that’s too much purse for you!”
My suddenly sixth-grade heart contracts with guilt and fear of reprisal and, in a split second, I awake with a start in my bed just as a dreary dawn begins to filter through the blinds. One simple, thought rings in my head and it is, at that moment, completely terrifying:
I. Have. Too. Much. Baggage.
Can I really make it work?
I glance over at the alarm. Six-ten a.m., time to start another work day. Since I'm wide awake--unusually so--I swing my feet to the floor jostling a reluctant FurGirl to consciousness. Still half asleep, the dog struggles to her feet, then rests her sleepy chin on my lap and I give her velvety soft ear a scratch.
"Well, FurGirl, gray does go with everything, right?"
After a sharp intake of breath, FurGirl heaves a huge, drawn-out sigh so prolonged that it ultimately ends in sort of a moan.
And then we face the day together.