Saturday was perfect. I was given the long weekend off of work, so I was free to do whatever I chose with myself and my time for three whole days. Saturday morning, after waking up early to go walk my parents' dog, I came home to tackle the extra bedroom.
The room's door is just opposite the door to my bedroom, and unless I keep it closed all the time, I am forced to look at the Mt. Everest of boxes that I lugged from my old condo and into Billy's house in my move. In my haste, I simply piled the boxes on top of one another in the room, directly in front of the closet that now serves as home to many of my work clothes and all of my excess shoes. This made it all but impossible to reach any of my belongings until something was done about the pile. Additionally, that particular bedroom serves as sort of the "junk drawer" for the entire house. Towels and winter clothes are piled amongst discarded suitcases and unused laundry hampers. Old sheet sets and miscellaneous junk mail adorn the floor, while larger, more obtrusive items clutter up the rest of the room. In order to make my junk fit, I was going to have to clean out the junk that was already there.
In the warmth of our sunny Saturday, I changed into some clothes that allowed me the flexibility that is all but required for the cleaning out - or at very least "straightening up" - of any room. With Billy at work, I was forced to assume that nothing should be thrown away, and instead took to just organizing all of the odds and ends into more aesthetically pleasing piles about the room. Having been a messy person all of my life, and having been told on countless occasion that I could "not go anywhere until that room is clean" while growing up, I've developed an almost mystic talent for creating the illusion of cleanliness in what is, unquestionably, a messy room. And so I did what I do best. I stacked boxes, I consolidated, I arranged. And in between sections, I'd run to the bathroom, and spray Scrubbing Bubbles over the entire shower/bathtub, the toilet, the sink. In the space of time most would need to clean out merely a section of one room, I cleaned two.
A sweat mark, two sore legs, and one broken fingernail later, I stepped back to admire my work. Sure enough, I was now able to reach to all of my things in the closet, my still-boxed items were stacked to ensure maximum access to the paraphernalia inside, and the bathroom gleamed. I was proud.
I sat on our unmade bed and took a swig of the cherry coke I'd brought up for my moment of celebration. I lit a cigarette. I glanced at the clock. Eleven. That's it? My job is done? What the heck do I do with the rest of my day?
My mind reeled with possibilities. It had been so long since I'd had a day - a whole day - to only myself. With no plans, no commitments, no work. Having just paid off my car the day before (I'm a car owner now! The bank has no hold over me!), I decided to reward my hard work of today and my financially savvy move the day before by being fiscally irresponsible: I was going shopping.
I took my time getting ready, listening to music, applying my makeup in no hurry whatsoever. I chose my outfit based on its changing room merits: The correct bra, easy-to-get-out-of-and-into shoes, a shirt that slips off easily without yanking the hair from my scalp. I brought my checkbook, my debit card, a good CD. I was ready to spend the day with Me.
It was one of those days where everything goes perfectly. The sun shined, and the temperature was perfect with my windows down. The CD I chose was incredible, offering stellar accompaniment to my long overdue day of solitude. As I drove the hour to my favorite mall in New Jersey, I delighted in the fact that I had all day to shop. Or browse. Or both. Since I had no one with me, I could take my time in every store, with no sense of urgency to get home, and without worrying that I was holding up my shopping companion. My only companions on this trip, after all, were my faux Coach bag and the paycheck I'd deposited the day before. Even then, only a half hour into my drive, it felt good to reward myself. I've been laying off the shopping, being good, keeping my checkbook in check, in an effort to pay off that car and nix my credit card debt. I'd been doing so well. It was time I reaped the rewards.
And the day only got better. Everything fit. Pants, even. Which never happens for me. Denim, cloth, whatever they're made of, they never agree to fit me around both my ass and my waist. But Saturday? Everything fit. And, as luck would have it, there were some awesome sales. Jeans, t-shirts, bras, tanktops, panties, capris...They all fit, and they all made it up to the cashier, and ultimately, into my wardrobe.
When there were no stores left for me to terrorize, I left the mall to seek out the elusive DSW shoe warehouse I'd heard was hidden somewhere behind the marbled-floors of my favorite shopping center. After some light searching, it appeared: The big black letters stretching over crisp glass doors, like a beacon.
I parked and strutted inside. Upon hitting the cool air of inside, I was breathless.
The last time I went shoe shopping, I left with flats. So I steered clear of anything with a plastic sole, and also of anything that was any less than three inches high. In the form of three boxes and $150, I repented to shoe gods for my clearly deluded purchase of flip flops and imitation sneakers a month ago. And the gods, they smiled. One pair was 50% off. Another pair? EIGHTY PERCENT OFF. I felt like I was being rewarded by some power greater than myself.
When I got home that night, gaggle of bags in hand, Billy sighed when he saw that I was carrying what was obviously shoes. "More shoes?" he said, eyeballing the familiar black-and-white striped plastic bag. "Is that why you got rid of all of those others? To make space for more?"
"Yes." I said, matter-of-factly, and headed up the stairs with my purchases.
He had just tormented me about all the shoes I'd already moved in. "You must have thirty pair in the other bedroom," he said one night. "And probably twenty pair in here." He pointed to the closet beside the bed.
"I know," I huffed indignantly, "but I threw out, like, forty pair. So this is good." He laughed and hugged me, resigned, I suppose, to the fact that he would never understand or change my obsession with shoes.
And I may never understand it either. But I'll tell you this much: I can scarcely recall the last time I had a day that good. I had, after all, been to the holy land.