Tales from the commune pt. 9

She was breathtaking

A white pantsuit, blonde hair, red lipstick, her mouth singing along to Feliz Navidad, the song I was dancing to. I couldn’t take my eyes off her and missed my cue to go to the left. One of the other dancers bumped into me “move over ” I rushed over to my new spot and lifted my skirt in time with the beat, but I was watching her. Her white suit had gold buttons on it and her shoulders pointed far out to the side. She was with a friend who was equally beautiful, with wild curly hair and wearing a blue pinstriped coat. They were both smiling and clapping as the song ended and walked up to throw coins into the guitar case in front of us.

I imagined she was a business woman, a woman who made a lot of money, at least thats what the red lipstick told me. She stood in such stark contrast to the women I knew. The women like my mom who had long hair, weren’t allowed to wear makeup and wore a perpetually tired look from being made to have so many children.

Compared to them this woman was a goddess. One of the aunties from our group approached her but the woman held up a sharp hand to stop the poster she was being offered. She spoke only to us kids “That was a beautiful performance, thank you so much, you are wonderful dancers”. Her friend answered a cellular phone and I didn’t know who was more enthralling, I kept looking at them wondering what it would be like to be them. Her friend walked over and said they needed to go, they were meeting some friends.

They walked away and I watched them go with their big purses and their dyed hair. They talked to each other in a way I had never seen women talk, they were loud and laughing, both talking at once but neither one seemed to be upset by that.

“One day, I’ll be just like her” the thought that ran through my head but even as it did, I knew it would never be.

“Angel, get on your mark”

I was being called to set up for the next song. There were two more songs in the set before I could take a break. I performed the next song but in my head I wasn’t there. In my head I was this woman’s’ daughter and she would teach me to be just like her. To wear nice clothes and put on makeup, to laugh with my friends with no one watching.
I’ve thought of her many times in my life. I know she doesn’t know I exist, after all who remembers a kid out of a group of 6 busking on a bridge almost 30 years ago. But I remember her. She was the woman I wished I could be, she was the business woman with the red lipstick and friends to laugh with freely on a Friday night.

Last Friday, after a day of working on business plans, I got dressed up for my first dinner in a very long time. As I was looking in my closet for something to wear I thought of her. I realized I was wearing white, so I reached for a gold purse. I put on lipstick- mauve because I can’t pull off red- then I got in my car and drove to see friends. No one watched or kept tabs as we all talked at the same time, sharing joy and making each other laugh out loud. Hours later I drove home full, not just of risotto, but of the joy that comes when life gives you a full circle moment. One where you realize you have turned into a version of yourself you thought you could never be. My hair wasn’t dyed, I had make up on but my shoulders were a normal size. I wasn’t exactly her, but I had the joy and freedom I had seen and craved.
My life is also breathtaking.

I grew up in an apocalyptic cult. I tell those stories.