then there was the whole michael bolton "when a man loves a woman" mimed figure skating in socked feet phase that resulted in a broken arm, a bloody nose and two sprained ankles.
if ever there was a girl in need of a costume box, it was i. and yet somehow, despite the fact that i was an only child and the obvious solution to the "caroline, stop wearing my clothes" problem would've been a costume box, we never got around to that. instead i was left to pilfer the closet/jewelry box/sock drawer of every female relative i had and store my findings in a black hefty bag shoved into the farthest depths of my closet for fear they would be found out.
for fear that when my mother scoured my belongings in search of the elicit drugs that every ABC movie of the week had told her would be there, she would uncover a deep, dark secret far, far worse. that her daughter was someone who would not only make but wear Fashions comprised of nothing but discarded slips, red velvet tassels and safety pins.
my family has always had the best closets hands-down. i know this because i've pillaged them all.
my father's is probably the least exciting. its most provocative feature being a box of shoe polishes that have decomposed to such an extent the whole thing looks like that box of cal hockley's that brock lovett thought held the heart of the ocean. as we've moved from house to house my father's closet has never changed. it has always been dark and rectangular and hauntingly acidic.
my mother's closet was more dynamic. sometimes there was a window. sometimes a makeup table. always, always eighteen hundred million dry cleaning bags. the messiness was part of its allure.
along with the rack of power suits. the dressing table. the purses. the hats. the rows of high heels that were two sizes too small for my feet, though i crammed them on nonetheless. and then there was the gun.
my first memory of the gun is from when we lived in franklin. either this was the first time i ever ransacked my mother's closet or the gun had just moved in. it would be there for the next 7 years. snuggled in among the shoes.
in a testament to the effectiveness of early 90s anti-firearm propaganda (not to mention the 90210 where scott accidentally blows off his head at his own surprise birthday party after committing crimes against break-dancing that would've made me want to shoot my head off too), my fear of guns knew no bounds. never mind that this was a rifle that was plainly unloaded and situated in the clearly nonthreatening confines of my mother's footwear. still, it scared the hell out of me.
and yet there was something strangely comforting about it. knowing it was there, i always felt very well defended. i was highly skeptical the family dog would ever protect us, but the possibility always remained that my mother would get her gun.
which is funny, because it wasn't her gun. it was my dad's. and there were actually two others stashed in his closet that i somehow, in all of my foraging, never unearthed. i can only imagine how well-defended i would've felt knowing there were guns for everyone.
i hadn't thought about the gun in ages but in recent weeks, i have really really really wanted it. just as the humans and the hobbits longed for The Ring, i have suddenly coveted this gun with an undying conviction that it must one day be mine. and that all will be right in the world when it is.
because it is the gun my father brought back from vietnam. it is my heritage and in a very strange way, a piece of the story of who i am.
because i am a girl who makes Fashions from velvet and tassels and safety pins. a girl who expects women, real women, to guard their shoes with guns.