While on tour, I made a two terribly exciting acquisitions.
What follows may scare some unworldly (and likely self-loathing) people, but I’m thrilled to look once more upon their glory, particularly as they have travelled thousands of miles to once more revisit me with their fantastical romanticality. I thought they were gone forever and I’d never love again.
I was perusing the racks of a more-discount-than-discount Salvation Army-style thrift store in Edmonton, Alberta. Wading, fly-fishing-style, through the most unfashionable clothes I’d perhaps ever been forced to witness and yet, in complete and utter rebellion, my eyes refused to close. It was as though incredulously, inexplicably and hideously in want of more offensive viewing material they had, Clockwork Orange-style, propped themselves open to absorb the store in its entirety as I passed the racks of deformed and oddly-altered Swiss Dot dresses mashed awkwardly next to men’s XL Michael Jackson zippered leather jackets in “mustard”. I’d like to say that I can never again listen to Beethoven, but Lisa Loeb was playing on the radio, so it will have to suffice as an equal suffering.
I felt a peculiar little chill, as though some critically gorgeous and pompously ignored ex-fiancé had walked past me, while I, absorbed in the International Art Weekly on the terrace of Le Raphaël, never realized his presence, but at the same time recalled the strange sensation of being desired beyond desire. (I find out later, as I’m called to him on his deathbed, that it happened. A flurried montage of The Things That Never Were plays throughout the scene as he dies, my poker face never revealing any of my deep remorse, until he croaks, dead. I close his eyes with a gloved hand and cry a single tear. His avocat emerges from his hiding-place behind a curtain, and, touched at having seem me subtly mourn the loss of the man I’ve ignored most, tells me I have been left a massive fortune. The rest of the fantasy involves selecting brightly colored silks as I’ve not been one to mourn him in life and I shan’t do it in death. I become a scarlet-lettered recluse that writes several novels and dies in front of an ornate fireplace, the only lighting in a palatial estate that’s never been used for a party. I’m clutching his portrait in a small, always concealed locket. The papers attempt to publicize the dramatic tale, but the now-ancient avocat hushes it up and it becomes a tragic legend of romantic fantasy. It’s all very Jane Eyre/Pride and Prejudice, but set in France.)
There they were. Like glorious beacons emitting a rainbow pulse of “I’ll be there for you” from atop jagged cliffs for a wayward seafarer, they drew me in and we became one. Their cold ceramic white-on-whiteness seemed to have a twin language, a co-conspiratorial smirk, a BFF’s club I was now invited to be a part of. I grabbed them overeagerly, and immediately bitterly cursed myself. What if I’d just made the ultimate thrift-store faux pas in letting them know they had accidentally thrown the Hope Diamond in with a batch of dirty Shriner’s Fezzes and an inconceivable mass of costume jewelry and seashell necklaces? I’m not used to such postured pokerfacing before purchasing the Mona Lisa. I checked myself, took a breath and selected a few other trinkets so as to throw them off the scent. A hideous checked blazer, which will indubitably be worn now due to the sheer proximity of fabulousness. A key ring from a local production of The Phantom Of The Opera.
My heart pounding, I turned the corner through the disheveled racks and came upon the cashier, who seemed to have a knowing look in his eye. (In actual fact, I am BEYOND embellishing this. He looked more like a character out of GUESS WHO?, bald and bespectacled with round rosy-cheeks, and likely any suspicion was more likely in a “you’re not from these parts… I wonder if there’ll be Sloppy Joes for dinner at Rosie’s tonight” kind of way.) I placed my items on the counter in a manner I hoped would be perceived as casual, and, drifting vocally between pretentious and blasé, asked the price as though I was used to purchasing full length Chanel ball gowns as a weekend ritual.
He did a quick tally and picked up my cold ceramic beauties, flipped them upside down and searched for a nonexistant price sticker. My stomach lurched as the clear packing tape keeping them together buckled under the strain of being touched by the unworthy.
“I dunno, I guess two dollars?”
I shakily pulled out my wallet and hand over the cash, trying not to explode in garish glee as I silently rejoiced in my win.
We exit the store. Me, a checked blazer, a keyring, and two large white ceramic UNICORN HEADS.