Just put my bitter pants on. Hmm. Looks like they still fit.
So read my friend’s Facebook status. Splendid term, bitter pants. I promptly commented: What are you doing with my pants?
I wondered. Did she steal my pants last time she visited my house? Thought they were hidden away where no one could find them. Deep in my closet, behind my collection of silent, toothy skeletons.
See them there? Hanging next to my pink pity party panties and my emerald encrusted envy glasses. Pink and green. A preppy girl at heart. Where did I put those Tretorns?
My yellow slicker o’ slander hangs there too. Covers me well when the rains of gossip fall in fluid torrents.
There’s my angry red wool scarf and my grudgeful orange leather jacket. One poor, beautiful Guernsey died to make that jacket.
But the bitter pants? Those are silk. Thousands of white mulberry worms sacrificed themselves in Shanghai. Boiled or baked in drying ovens for their spun cocoons, for filaments twisted into strong, continuous threads.
Wine-soaked artisans in the alleys of Paris caressed and worked the silk, dyeing it a glowing chartreuse. It radiates the ghosts of the caterpillars and Parisians. A matte luster of fogged up windows and lipgloss on glass rims.
Oh, how they fit! No matter when I put them on, they are snug as a bug in a proverbial rug.
Lots of women have them, tucked away like mine for special occasions, or flown daily like a flag. A crisp shock of citron popping in the wind.
Men have them too, though they are harder to spot–usually look sullen or vengeful on men. On women you can see them a mile away. Cool. Sharp. Lean and mean. These girls wear the pants as much as the pants wear them.
I’ve thrown mine out several times. Somehow they keep finding their way home. Magic, homing, bitter pants. Destined to climb back into my closet of tricks. So for now I still own them should I choose to wear them again.
They’ll suffocate me if I do. Squeeze my life like a boa constrictor squeezes prey. Devour me, bury me, render me a useless, angry, forlorn frame of a woman.
I plead with God for protection, for the will to take off my pride and find something else to wear. Hand me my linen robe. Bring me my coat of arms.
The bitter pants. Magnificent zombie of my sin. Scary but lifeless. Dead with the old woman. Condemned to burn in a hot blue flame and boil in a river of fire. Then I will dance, finally completely free of them.
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 NLT
The music of Paul Simon is an American treasure. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes. Wish I’d though of that.