The first thing I notice is the boots, brown, flat, beautiful, perfect. In another time, a time with two incomes and less mouths to feed, I would have asked her where she bought them. I would have run out and bought those boots or ones like them because I could. I would have been happy, the kind of happy that only beautiful boots can bring.
The next thing I notice are the leggings. They are black and grey in an interesting pattern. I chuckle to myself. Looking at my mocha and cookie, I know I could never wear those leggings. Not the way she does with her supermodel long legs, with her supermodel thin legs. I could not wear them without a long sweater to hide the things that needed hiding.
There was a time long ago when a girl I remember only in photos could have worn those leggings. She was supermodel tall, supermodel thin. She subsisted on coffee, Sprite, microwave popcorn, a few cigarettes and alcohol. She wore leggings like that. She could pull that off. People noticed how thin she was. She was complimented. Boys noticed her. She was happy in the way that only a cute boy noticing you can make you happy. Miserable and unhealthy but happy that she was thin.
I notice her hair. The length is what I am hoping to achieve later this year. The color is that beautiful honey color I have always wanted but never quite achieved. I make a mental note to discuss this with my stylist on Thursday. I will be happy, the kind of happy that only a new hair color can bring.
Her back is to me. I cannot tell her age. She could be young. She could be my age. I cannot see her face. I cannot know if she is happy or sad. I can only know myself.
I know that I am softer, rounder and wider than I wish I was. There are lumps and bulges I wish weren't there. Lucky my height hides the imperfections. There are days I can rock skinny jeans and leggings (with an appropriately long ass covering sweater) and days I cannot. My hair is almost back to it's natural color. It is sprinkled with gray, a nod to my age.
My clothes are not stylish nor fashionable. I wear jeans, a t-shirt and sweater that may or may not have been picked up off the floor in my rush to get three people dressed and out the door to school on time. My feet are clad in worn winter boots. Boots that no one would look twice at but keep me warm while I stand on the playground or frolic in the snow with my children.
But none of this matters to the woman I am now. I am happy, the kind of happy that comes from living life. I am blessed with the wisdom of time, struggle and acceptance.