I never saw the warning signs: the stretched-out elastic at the legs, the fading color, the pilling at the bottom. Oh, sure, some might say Swimsuit was frumpy, conservative, and old-ladyish, but I knew the truth: Swimsuit had a playful side! What about that time I dove off the ledge of the deep-end at the local pool and the top of Swimsuit went down to my navel for anyone with underwater goggles or a mask to see? That was not old ladyish—that was frisky!
I had not seen Swimsuit in weeks, maybe months. I was shoving some wool socks into the front of the dresser drawer, and that’s when I caught sight of Swimsuit hiding in the way back.
“Swimsuit! How’ve you been?!” I asked, enthusiastic.
Swimsuit cringed. “Don’t touch me.”
“What? You’ve never said anything like that to me before, what’s going on?”
“I’ll tell you what’s going on: I’m leaving. I’m too good for you.” The frayed strings at the top of the straps were not helping Swimsuit’s case any.
“Come on, let’s be reasonable,” I whispered softly to Swimsuit. “We’ve been through a lot together, through thick and thin—”
“Mostly thick,” muttered Swimsuit.
I could not believe this was happening. Before we first met years ago, I had literally spent hours looking for a swimsuit that would fulfill my needs, to no avail. Friends recommended I go online, but that seemed so impersonal.
“Trust me,” said my friend Anna, “I found the absolute best swimsuit on the L.L.Bean website. And it was on sale! Online is the way to go.”
I ignored Anna’s advice and asked The Husband what I should do instead.
“I think Anna is right. I always order mine online.” He was no help whatsoever.
Luckily, Gina happened to call the next day. I told her my situation and she had a solution.
“Go to Solar Eclipse at the mall. I’ll tell them you’re coming. Just mention my name.” This felt very clandestine, like a secret blind-date with a Lycra astronomer, but Gina was always ultra-fashionable so I did as I was told.
That was the day I met Swimsuit. Swimsuit was hanging behind the counter at the trendy swimsuit salon, Solar Eclipse, waiting for me.
I approached the petite saleslady cautiously and said, “Hello, uh, Gina told me—”
“You must be Congresswoman MOV. A pleasure.” The lady shook my hand, then she handed me a small bottle of chilled Perrier.
She pulled five various swimsuits, all size 12, from behind the counter for me to inspect. As soon as I saw Swimsuit, though, I knew it was meant to be.
Swimsuit and I went into the dressing room together and I pulled the purple velvet curtain closed. Swimsuit was sleek, stylish, flattering—a master of illusion. All my big areas looked small. All my small areas looked big. My iridescent ghost skin appeared tan. My 5’8” frame morphed to 5’11”. Not only was I going to buy this swimsuit, I was going to wear it everywhere.
“Yes, I’ll take it,” I said to the obsequious saleslady.
“Certainly, Congresswoman MOV,” she nodded as she gingerly took my American Express card out of my hand. “Would you like to maybe take it off first and I can wrap it in tissue paper for you then?”
Swimsuit and I had an affair, no, relationship, for many, many years. Swimsuit basked in the attention and the never-ending string of compliments we received when we were out together.
“You’ve changed,” Swimsuit sneered at me. “We don’t fit together the way we used to.”
“Give me a break, Swimsuit! We just had Halloween! I just started a new job! Sure, I may have put on a few pounds, but it was from stress-eating. I can stop anytime I want.”
Swimsuit knew it was a lie. “I want to leave now. Don’t try to change my mind. We both know it’s over.”
I was not one to beg. If Swimsuit wanted to go, fine! So be it! I took Swimsuit out of the drawer and put it in the Goodwill box next to the front door.
“Farewell, my friend.” I gave Swimsuit one last quick kiss on the spandex to show that I still cared.
Swimsuit said nothing.
I walked away and went upstairs to the study. I turned on the computer and clicked on the L.L. Bean website. Maybe a rebound relationship was exactly what I needed.
(“Mom Or Venus?”)