People who don’t know me: I’m incredibly near-sighted.
I’ll use this to some poetic metaphor magic at some point, I’m sure, but I mean I really can’t see more than a few inches in front of my face before things start getting blurry, and if we’re talking more than a couple of feet, color is pretty much all I have as an indicator.
At a few minutes after 8 this morning, I, VERY AGAINST MY WILL, awoke with a searing hangover. As my wonderful husband got up to get us both some ibuprofen, I picked up my poor head to survey my surroundings.
(For readers who may be viewing this in an email or something where the photographs are removed, imagine you’re seeing a very blurry photo of my closet and to the barely-left-of-center is a sliver of VERY BRIGHT CORAL.)
To you, this means nothing. To me, this is… like seeing a birthday cake with the candles already lit and it’s your name elegantly written on top and everyone you love is gathering in the next room to bring it to you.
That is how Ms. Cacie makes me feel.
I have this beautiful dress that I bought on vacation. It’s halfway between bubblegum pink and florescent orange, where those two colors turn into coral. Coral (or peach, if you must) is unusual, but not unheard-of. Coral is exciting. Coral makes my tongue taste of sweet lychees dusted with sour salt, a perfectly yummy candy cut with just enough acid to make me want another while I’m still chewing the first.
That dress is Ms. Cacie.
The day after I came home from my first vacation in many years, I went right back out the door for a children’s music gig that I had booked while waiting in line at Disney World. This small, outdoor art fest had had a last-minute performer cancelation, and the woman in charge of booking the entertainment had put the desperation plea out: In Search Of Children’s Performers For Art-Themed Venue.
My friend Jen Parde said, hey, I know this woman.
I donned the new dress and instantly felt her – Ms. Cacie, this amazing woman who makes a new three-year-old friend while waiting for a train, who makes eye contact with the 4-year-old who was completely overwhelmed by sensory overload only a year ago and now sings loudly and proudly along with all the songs, who is super happy to give out hugs or high-fives and super happy even if touching at all is not your jam.
I love Ms. Cacie. Yesterday, I bought her a flower crown to go with her dress. Ms. Cacie deserves to be happy.
I talk about her in the third person because Ms. Cacie is not me. She is who I aspire to be, she is a smiling stranger, she is a bright coral dress and a crown of flowers and she floats in on guitar strings and floats out on a blown kiss. I invented her, but I am not her.
I write songs about Sad Experiences and stay up late drinking in celebration or mortification or boredom. Ms. Cacie is a variation of perfection, and on mornings like this one, where I can’t see more than a few inches into the future but have perfect hindsight of every transgression I’ve ever made, she hangs in my closet, a blurry flash of coral, and gives my heart a hug and tells me that I get to try again today.
Thank you, Ms. Cacie. I love you.