So much imagining can happen so fast, and so quickly it can all come to seem possible.
When I spied the earrings at an art show, I picked them up and held them in my hand. The little hammered gold circles were understated and casual and just perfect. They were as light as air. Lighter than air. They were like negative air.
I thought, these are so small and lightweight, I could probably even wear them on the beach… Wouldn’t that be fun? Just the tiny accent the perfect seaside outfit needs. You know how in the J. Crew catalog they’re always wearing adorably rumpled gingham shirts half-buttoned-up over their bikini tops with whimsically mismatched shorts and espadrilles that lace halfway up their calves yet miraculously never make their legs look like tenderloins wrapped in twine? THAT is what these earrings would be great with. Oh! And a colorful scarf wrapped around my hair, the overall effect of which would be not at all like Aunt Jemima or Rosie the Riveter.
The whole thing would be so fabulous… we could find some of those beach chairs that are always perfectly positioned with the sunset behind them, so that no one is squinting and the tide is just exactly right — lapping at our toes, but not making our chairs sink unevenly in the wet sand so that we have to keep getting up and scooting back again and again and again.
The sun would catch the gold and make the earrings sparkle just a bit, almost as sparkly as the twinkling in my children’s eyes as they glance back at me from where they’re wading in the tide pools, catching minnows and never clocking one another upside the head with buckets or peeing on sand crabs.
Ooh! Actually, this is the PERFECT scenario for one of those casual social get-togethers, like when you run into friends and realize that they’re staying just three houses down the beach, and they are totally happy to see you, and you’re happy to see them, and neither couple thinks, “Are you f’ing KIDDING ME? We drive six hours to get out of town, and THESE ASSHOLES are still RIGHT HERE?”
I’d say, “How about dinner?” and they would accept the invitation immediately because we are so much fun to hang out with and my cooking is so legendary for both its tastiness and the ease with which I do it. The wife would not stare daggers at her husband like, “I HATE THESE PEOPLE,” while he jovially accepts the invitation without realizing all the hell he’s going to pay later. I would do one of those lowcountry boil things, where I just throw all sorts of stuff in a pot and then wave a magical wand over it and then dump it all out across our weathered wood picnic table out behind the beach house. Everyone will gather around: “YOU MADE THIS?” Yes. Yes, I did. But it was no trouble.
And I would tell stories, and everyone would be mesmerized, and it would be a non-sports season, so no one would be glancing at their laps to check scores on their iPhones. And then I would say, guess what! I have a great new compound curse word to tell you! And everyone would go, “WHAT IS IT?” And I would make them wait a few seconds before announcing…
And they’d roar their approval and immediately start using it in sentences (“Hey, don’t be such an assbasket. Pass the bottle opener!”) No one would point out that obviously someone else has previously made up this word and that’s why it’s already in the Urban Dictionary. They would let me enjoy the bliss of believing in myself.
As the stars begin to come out and the children huddle around the bonfire making s’mores, the adults will keep getting along swimmingly. Everyone will have a light buzz, just enough to make all the happiness happier, not so much that the men are slurring their words and the women are spontaneously crying and making mascara run halfway down their cheeks. Because everyone is all joyous, the other couple definitely won’t start snarling at each other and making us feel uncomfortable such that I start doing the nonsensical babbling thing I do just to fill the awkward silences — where the next thing you know I’m blabbing absurdly personal information about my uterus and my husband is covering his face and shaking his head, and then the other husband stands up and we realize he’s blind drunk, and he trips and falls into the bonfire and yells, “Sheezusmaryandjoseph, kidswegottagohome, yourmothersawhore.”
None of that would happen, because I’d be wearing the earrings. So light. So twinkly. So full of sunshiny optimism.
I wear them almost every single day.