It only took me a five-second glance to notice her posture (elegantly poised), her demeanour (calm and composed) and most of all, her accessories. Complimenting one another in varying shades of purple.
She wears a thin wool sweater with feminine pintucks, in a deep royal purple. A dainty lilac silk scarf, knotted coquettishly around her neck. Her tote bag next to her is a rich magenta leather, with shiny gold hardware.
It sounds like too much, but somehow, she’s made it work. She is, hands down, the most stylish person I’ve seen for quite a while. I am impressed.
She is slim, fine-boned, with delicate wrists and ankles, and pale ivory skin – yet she glows and looks well rested. She doesn’t need blush or tan. I get the feeling that she’s had a good night’s sleep.
She is having coffee and reading the weekend newspaper. Reads every page with keen interest. She does not miss one single page. Her life does not appear to be rushed – surely it mustn’t be, if she can read the newspaper like that?
The pace at which she turns the pages starts to frustrate me. I feel like telling her to hurry up…and begin to wonder, doesn’t she have anything else to do today? Somewhere to be? Someone to see?
It irritates me slightly, not knowing. So I allow myself to make assumptions about her life. I know I’m judging her now. Does she have a partner, have kids? Her carefully selected outfit, her flawlessness, her pace, suggest no…no children. Perhaps not a partner, either.
By now I’ve taken a few glances her way. I’d not be surprised if she thinks I’m attracted to her. I am – but not in a sexual way. I’m attracted to her because of what she represents.
A world I know I don’t belong to. Because we appear to be opposites.
For today, my style? Let’s see. Old Birkenstocks housing feet in need of a pedicure. White cargo pants that have been hurriedly rolled up. An old grey singlet, underneath a white & navy striped three-quarter sleeved t-shirt. Possible casual, French look..? But also possibly – ah yes, as I suspected – wearing some of my son’s Weetbix. No, a French woman would not accessorise with breakfast cereal. Let’s just stick with just casual, then.
Messy hair. A few knots. Skipped the conditioner. Black hairband doubling as a bracelet. Posture? I’m comfortably slumped over the table, head propped up by one hand keeping the hair out of my eyes, my other hand writing in my 72c exercise book with a Bic pen.
I glance over at her one last time – she is still reading the newspaper – and smile to myself.
I get up, pay for my coffee, start walking home back to my family..and am still smiling.
Because I’ve been reminded that my life, to me, is perfect because of its simplicity, its familiarity, its messiness and hurriedness. I am grateful for the fact I don’t often have time to read the newspaper.
As I walk home, I glance again at my son’s Weetbix on my t-shirt, and am filled with happiness.
I feel so incredibly lucky…and laugh out loud, not caring what people think.