I stopped my truck to let her cross.
She’d emerged from from a shiny, modern auto, and was headed for starbucks, or jamba juice, one of those corporate purveyors of sweet-soulless beverages.
I generally let people cross in parking lots; it’s one of those general rules of courtesy I try to follow, all the more because I drive a big vehicle, and because I have a somewhat threatening demeanor. So I go out of my way to make shows of public courtesy (one might say I was lulling people into a sense of false security, and one would not be entirely wrong).
But in this case, the act wasn’t one of courtesy, so much as it was one of – words fail me here, mesmerizement?
She was attractive; lovely, possibly. I can’t really say for sure. Thirtyish, or fourtyish, or more, or even less. The details melt away. Her hair was pixie-short, stylishly so. Expensively colored some wine-dark tone.
She smiled at me when I stopped my huge truck and waved her on, go ahead, you have the right of way. Her makeup was tasteful, lips some strong color I can’t recall, which didn’t particularly compliment or clash with her hair. Nice, but not striking.
But it was her clothing that left me overwhelmed.
She wore a skirt in an orange one rarely sees in clothing; an orange made for hot-rods from the seventies, for vintage british amplifiers. For plastic furniture or sports uniforms or or the inside of lava lamps. It wasn’t demurely orange, elegantly orange; it wasn’t naturally orange, the orange of fruit or blossoms. It was brazenly orange, aggressively orange. It shouted, screamed the color – Orange!
The skirt was longish, to the calf, in some swingy, flowing fabric. It was the sort of skirt my female friends will know the name for, the cut, the length, the fabric. But it was well made, and moved about her legs as she walked, flashing only a bit of calf, and flattering what wasn’t a remarkable walk.
Her shoes were like some minimalist craft; sleek and low, like cigarette boats or the sort of cars that sit so low you can’t see them from your SUV window at a stop. Barely a shoe at all; low and flat, with a slightest band across the ball of her feet, her toes peeking out. The heels were low, with angular, sharply tapered heels. They’re what I think are called a ‘kitten heel’, which I recall only because the word ‘kitten’ has so much sexual resonance for me when applied to a woman.
They’re shoes I’d never have noticed, but that they matched her skirt. They were blindingly, brilliantly, attention-grabbingly orange. Tiny, thin, barely there; yet the image if the elegantly tapered heel has attached itself to my mind’s eye. Her feet were hypnotic.
And there was her jacket; and this is where all hell breaks loose.
Imagine if you will: Drop acid with Emanuel Ungaro and Peter Max, and they spend the night watching Yellow Submarine, making love, and designing ladies jackets. Imagine a color palate featuring this mind-bending, eyeball-saturating orange, and mate it with contrasting hues in similar intensity. Imagine the yellow, the green, the pink that would go with this, and take your mental paintbrush and swirl it into a carefully planned psychedelic salmagundi.
You are short of this jacket; you have made a valiant attempt, but you fail. It is more; brighter; wilder. It is a garment made from madness and pop-art; or one might simple say, it was very bright.
And I sat in my truck, willing my eyes to close, to allow myself a moment to recover. And I thought, where is she going?
Because my town, it is not the sort of place where Peter Max and Ungaro give birth to a psychedelic love-child in dupioni; it is not the sort of place where a woman goes causally down to Starbucks in a swirl of brilliant orange skirts and matching kitten-heeled mules. It is not a town where elegant ladies wear amazing technicolor dream coats.
This woman, in fact looked like she might have stepped out of the world’s most elegant circus. I wondered, as she vanished in my rear-view mirror, if she were the office manager for cirque du couture. My mind filled with a vision of designer clown cars disengorging an elegantly clad and near-eternal stream of perfectly-coiffed clowns, not slapping about in huge, boat-like shoes but instead clicking along in dolce & gabbana. Ringmasters in chanel, jugglers in gautier, tightrope-walkers and acrobats in lagerfeld and st. laurent.
Was she the den mother for the cubscout be-in? Was she the here with a gypsy caravan? Was she a member of some mind-warping cult, a designer-dressed pied piper, ready to lure our vogue-reading rats and children off to some pleasure island of tropical-candy-colord joy and sin?
Who was she and what was she doing in my town? And did she, I wonder now, know what she was doing? Or was this some horrible accident of taste that brought her out, perfectly, elegantly dressed in something where the word taste becomes abstractly meaningless. Did she not even know?
And I am left to wonder; what did her blouse look like, for I never even saw it. And what – my mind going there because it has to – did she on have under that sun-bright skirt? Nothing, I want to think, but i know that’s wrong. But i wish – hope – that she had the tiniest thong, covering a perfectly, lovingly waxed pussy; a delicate thread of brightest orange or acid green or hot, tropic pink elegantly cleaving a perfect bottom. I want the part I couldn’t see to be as outrageously, loudly perfect as the rest.
I will never know; but let’s all assume I’m right.