On the Wednesday after my daughter’s graduation we drove to stay with my 82-year old 2nd cousin once-removed-in-law whom I had not seen in 31 years. She put together a dinner party for us. She invited her son, his girlfriend, her daughter, her daughter’s husband, and a few other people from my father’s youth.
I had visited her and her husband fairly often while an undergraduate at
But last Wednesday I had fun. I had fun as we all gathered in the garden room where someone in a white jacket poured us drinks. I had fun on the patio where someone in a white jacket brought us cheese and crackers. I had fun at the dinner table, set with what appeared to be family china, and ornate silver candelabras with hanging crystals, and what appeared to be Louis Comfort silver centerpiece holders. Where several people with white jackets served us dinner. To my surprise, my discomfort is gone. It’s gone. It turns out that, after 30 years of life rubbing down your raw edges, you can go home again.
A fashion deconstruction of Wednesday night might make this all clearer. I didn’t have the right clothes to wear. And I knew it. All I had was a green patterned silk jersey shirt dress from Banana Republic. Which I had thought to wear for my daughter’s graduation but left in my suitcase in the face of an early thunderstorm.
The other women came, almost all of them, in sherbet colored dupioni silk pants and jackets with striking
My cousin even asked me, in that indirect way, what had I worn for dinners during graduation? As in, why are you wearing that dress, surely you must have had to dress appropriately on other recent occasions? I didn’t mind. Do you hear that? I wore the wrong clothes and I didn’t mind. Quite remarkable. I felt in that moment that if you are in a group of people for whom you feel nothing but affection, and you give your affection freely, and you look them in the eyes and shake their hands as I was taught when I was little, all can be well. All manner of things can be well.
The next day I told my cousin that the table setting had been so beautiful and she told me it was all inherited, except the china, they had bought the china. Sometimes things are terribly profound and sometimes they are not and you do not usually get to choose.