Five weeks ago, I was picking up some guacamole at Whole Foods after leaving my evening writing class. Since I was already there, I figured I’d also grab a 12-ounce Mocha Maca Rebbl drink for the next morning (it’s my current beverage of choice, although LIVE Kombuchas are still my absolute favorite — two years straight now!).
From point A (the produce section) to point B (the grandiose beverage case that’s parallel to the deli), I passed through Whole Body, an area of the store that features vitamins, soaps, bath salts, deodorants, hats, scarves, and other seasonal clothing items. One scarf in particular drew my attention; I followed its beckoning, felt it with my hands, snuck a peek at the price tag, and then left it with a sigh. Out of my league.
The following week (while getting groceries), I passed by Whole Body again. I craned my neck to see if the scarf was still there — it was. A sense of relief flooded me. I continued walking.
And then several days LATER, after another creative writing class and an evening hankering for guac, I walked right up to the scarf, took it in my arms, and confirmed what I already knew to be true: I was in love.
But the price tag hadn’t changed.
So I returned my scarf to its temporary location and scurried over to a nearby team member who was working the floor.
“Heyyyyyyy!” I greeted him. “Sooooo do you know if any super secret clothing sales,” and here, I wiggled my fingers at him, “are coming up soon?”
He wiggled his fingers back at me and squinted his eyes. “Yessssssssss they ARE!”
In a week, I discovered! Just a week!
“WONDERFUL! Then I’ll just go hide that scarf over there…” I laughed, walking away with a wave.
“Oh, the black one over there, outlined with copper — I was just kidding, though,” I hurried to say.
He shrugged. “It’s yours,” he said, walking over to it. “What’s your name?”
“Alright, Jace! We’ll hold it for you until the sale date rolls around.”
Charlie picked the scarf up for me a week later (we discovered that the sale was actually taking place two weeks later, but I just couldn’t bear waiting any longer; the opportunity cost was, I decided, worth having it now).
And I’ll never forget the day we debuted ourselves to the world. I was training a new hire at one of my credit union’s local branches when Charlie walked in with it hanging delicately on his arm. Within seconds, it was hugging my neck.
“Have you seen my magical scarf?” I greeted co-workers.
“What makes it magical?” they asked.
“I can feel that it’s magical… and just look at it.”
I wore it for a week, and every day, it felt magical. We went together like burritos and guacamole. Until it disappeared.
I remember the day. Friday.
I was heading to work in green corduroy pants, and on my way out the door, I paused by the hat-jacket-and-scarf rack.
“I… guess I should wear my green scarf today,” I sighed, realizing that I shouldn’t do my usual thing of obsessing over a new item and wearing only it when other things might match whatever I’m donning more closely.
So I put on the green scarf. No need to foreshadow here… I’ll just come right out and say it: Bad, BAD decision.
When I woke up on Saturday and reached for my scarf, it was gone. And when I say gone, I mean GONE.
I checked the laundry room, the closet, cupboards, glove boxes, and drawers… I searched, in vain, underneath dusty beds, short tables, and shadowy kitchen sinks… and I even called some of my usual spots (Urban Standard, Whole Foods, and Bargain Hunt, because I’d been there a few days before)… but it was nowhere to be found.
“Will you please see if it’s underneath the deck?” I asked Charlie on Sunday, thinking that maybe the one of the shepherds had drug it outside and stashed it away. But it wasn’t there, either. I didn’t want it to be destroyed, of course, but when he gave his report, I was completely devastated… because not knowing where it was was even worse than not having it around.
Gone, gone, gone. I dreamt about it, during the day and at night, and the question of where the hell it went and was has remained infuriatingly – and devastatingly – unanswered.
And I just knew that I couldn’t live without it. It was Bruce-colored… black and copper, effortless… simple and sentimental.
So I had Charlie track down the name of the company who had made the scarf and then I perused their wares online. I couldn’t find anything similar, which triggered a spike in my sense of alarm.
But on the website, I was able to locate an email address for these producers (Gypsy and Lolo), so I sent them a message with a subject line that read: “I miss my scarf!”
In the body of my email, I explained the scenario — falling in love with the scarf, denying said love on two occasions, and then surrendering myself to it on the third… I proceeded to detail the loveliness of the scarf, the wonderful resemblance it bore to my late German Shepherd (the truest love of my life), and then I clicked send, feeling iffy on whether or not I’d hear back from a human being but at least relieved that I’d truly exhausted all of my resources.
“I honestly think that someone broke into the house, took the scarf, and left… just to drive me crazy,” I murmured to Charlie that evening.
“That is insane,” he whispered back at me, squeezing my shoulder gently as we continued watching Cheers.
And then one morning, something amazing arrived. An email.
When you look back on your e-life (aka your electronic life), certain text messages, emails, and phone calls stand out firmly in your mind — the ones you couldn’t wait to get, right? Contact from people you were just DYING to hear from…
Well this email stands out in my mind as one of “those.”
I opened the message quickly, skimming the email at first and then going back to fully read it (and reread it). In short, the office manager believed that they had an identical scarf in stock.
I called her on my lunch break.
“Hi — this is Jace! We’ve been emailing?”
“Yes, Jace! Hi! Yeah, the scarf… I think we have that one here. It’s got black stitching all throughout the scarf and a khaki color along the edges, right?”
“Right, black and copper… very simple, but very stunning?”
“Yep. That’s our Amber Scarf. I can get it out to you today.”
I gave her my card information right over the phone — yes, I paid for the same scarf twice, and because of #truelove, I did not even CARE — and then a package from California arrived in the mail just three days later, which was yesterday evening.
Charlie and I were leaving the house around 6 PM, en route to Lowes to save a few plants from the “final breath” rack (you know… the discounted, sickly-looking ones that they’re all too ready to throw away). I popped the mailbox open on our way to the car, feeling undeniably hopeful but not TOO much, and was thrilled and startled to discover a small brown package nestled inside.
Inside of the car, I opened it.
“Even if it isn’t THE one, I will still love it,” I assured Charlie (and myself), the crackly sound of plastic and paper rustling against each other filling the car.
But when I gently pulled the lavender-colored paper aside, I finally found it. My scarf.
Today, I’m wearing it on the couch at Red Cat. Charlie, who is sitting beside me, is working on his novel – Legend of Bruce (which you and I both cannot WAIT to read) – while I’m enjoying recounting the story of my scarf over pumpkin spice coffee and Gouda grits. We picked up some Japanese persimmons at the farmer’s market on our way in here (as well as some Pink Lady apples and a bottle of fancy caramel bourbon sheep’s milk sauce — sounds weird, but doesn’t TASTE weird!) and we’ll be making a few stops on the way home, including a trip to the antiques store on 5th where I hope to find a few more good-sized pots. One of my plants (whose name is Bucket) is sitting inside of a literal sand bucket right now, and he is not pleased.
Later on today, I will continue playing my new video game, Hue, while wearing this scarf… shortly thereafter, I will eat dinner (apples with caramel sauce and a thick slice of homemade bread that Charlie baked at 6:00 this morning) while wearing this scarf… before 9:00, I will take a shower while wearing my scarf, go to sleep while wearing my scarf, and someday, I will die a death while wearing my scarf and be cremated with it still on. Because frankly, I fucking REFUSE to lose it. Again.
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