I can’t remember exactly when I bought it, it doesn’t really matter now, what matters is that I wore it everywhere. It was perfect: black, swingy, lightweight wool, just below the knee, side zip, lined (did I mention it was lined?!), flattering, like I said—perfect.
I think it was Ann Taylor? Maybe Nordstrom brand? Or Target? Definitely not from Saks, I never shop there—too expensive. But anyway, the tag came off a long time ago, so I don’t even know what size it was. Probably a 10, but it could’ve even been an 8.
It was my go-to skirt. Interview? Yep, grab the black skirt. Dinner plans? Black skirt. Teacher conference? What else. You could dress it up (black cashmere sweater and pearls) or dress it down (cropped denim jacket and cotton tank top). You could wear it in winter (heavy red sweater and ribbed wool tights) or summer (sea-foam blue linen top and strappy sandals). It was one of those things where even if you were genetically fashion-challenged, like me, you just could not go wrong.
The Husband pulled me aside at Nate’s party. “Sweetie, I think you have something on your butt. Is it a piece of fuzz?”
I went to the ladies’ room to try to figure out the problem. I twisted my head around and strained to look. I spun around to the other side and tried to glimpse my own rear end. I was like a dog chasing its tail. I couldn’t tell what was going on, even with the mirror, so I finally had to flip the skirt around so the back was in the front. That’s when I saw it.
A small hole. Not quite a rip, but on its way.
How had this happened?!? It’s not like I backed into a sharp hook or a knife or something, I would’ve remembered that. I thought back to when I got dressed. The hole definitely was not there then. I retraced everything that I did since leaving the house: got in the car, drove over here, parked, took out the umbrella, walked down the block. There was nothing dangerous that happened, no precise moment I can pinpoint (unfortunate choice of word, I know) when I might have jabbed at my beloved skirt with something deadly. The umbrella seemed a likely candidate, but The Husband was the one who carried it, not me.
Fast forward to now, in the ladies’ room: I was still at the party, so what could I do? I flipped the skirt back so the front was in the front again. Thank God I had on black tights, at least the hole was not quite so visible.
I tried to have fun at the party, but the damn hole kept popping into my mind, like a stupid Billy Joel song that you hear when you are changing stations on the car radio. First, was the hole going to keep getting bigger, like, right now this evening? Gaaahhhh, I didn’t want that to happen. I kept tugging at my sweater, pulling it down in a weak attempt to cover the hole. Second, was this something that could be fixed later—could my precious skirt be saved? Third, had anyone (besides The Husband, I mean) noticed the hole yet? Would someone here see it and make a snide comment about my obvious fashion-cluelessness?
When we finally left the party, the interrogation began. “When did you first notice the hole, Sweetie?”
“What are you talking about?” asked The Husband while adjusting the radio back to the Billy Joel song, “Are you still obsessing about that small hole in your skirt?”
“Obsessing? You think I’m obsessing? Damn right I’m obsessing. Did you see it before we left the house?”
“No,” he broke into song, “We didn’t start the fire, and it’s been always burning since the world was turning …”
“If you saw the hole, why didn’t you say anything?”
“Geesh, Hon, I noticed it for the first time at the party, right when I told you.” He paused to turn the song off, realizing that talking over me was futile. “No one even saw it. When we get home, you can fix it. And if you can’t fix it, just buy a new skirt. Really, it’s not a big deal. Who cares?”
Who cares I thought, He has the audacity to say Who cares? I care. This was my Magical Perfect Skirt of the Universe, of course I care.
When we got home, and after I now had five more new Billy Joel songs in my head from that CD The Husband snuck into my car when I wasn’t paying attention, I took the skirt off and examined the hole. It had spread like a fissure that eventually becomes the Grand Canyon. The reality was: no more perfect black skirt.
I balled it up and threw it in the trash. I was afraid if I hung it back up, it would mock me. Or worse, I would forget about the hole and mistakenly wear it again to something really crucially important and essential, like a job interview, and then make a horrible first impression and most likely not get the job.
It’s funny that I was thinking about jobs right then, because the very next morning, the phone rang and it was the HR lady at a job I’d been applying for calling me back for an interview that day.
I forget what I wore, but I was humming Uptown Girl.