We hadn't been in the thrift store for 5 minutes before Naked Jen came skipping down an aisle toward Asphodel and me grinning ear to ear and carrying what we immediately began lovingly referring to as The Monstrosity. Clearly, she was going to need a cart as The Monstrosity - a full length skirt in faerie size 2 made out of an eleventy-billion yards of silver lamé and tulle ruffles - was bigger than she is.
- Naked Jen truly is faerie size.
- The Monstrosity had so much tulle sewed into it that it could stand fully erect on its own with no body in it - faerie or no - to support it.
I'm fairly certain that skirt has a mind of its own, knows precisely to whom it belongs, and hitched a ride to the ARC donation center at exactly the right moment when it knew Naked Jen was on her way to fetch it. Because the moment Asphodel and I saw Naked Jen lugging that skirt in both arms we both squeed in delight.
I was a little surprised her name wasn't already sewn into it.
After we'd cruised the racks and shelves for awhile, Jen scoring, in addition to The Monstrosity, a bright orange, soul-colored shift, and a Professor's Work Function Appropriate dress, we approached the check out counter in jubilation.
And then, and only then, we realized there was no price tag pinned onto The Monstrosity.
After a bit of searching, one of the store clerks discovered the skirt was part of a 2-piece set - the top a corset-type thing - and the price was marked $25.
I saw Jen hesitate. Too much for a thrift store find when the second piece was unwanted and unnecessary.
"Oh no," I said. "You are not leaving this store without that skirt. It belongs to you and I'm buying it for you as a gift."
There was no argument. It simply was hers. She knew it. I knew it. There was magic in it...naked magic. I couldn't let her leave the store...leave Denver...without proof that she'd been here loving it out with us in all that sparkly glory.
She wore it - and little else - that night to the Amanda Palmer and the Grand Theft Orchestra show and, when Hardy and Brad arrived to escort Jen, Asphodel, The Monstrosity, and me to the concert, our moment of reckoning regarding the sheer size of the thing came as we all shoved Jen and the skirt into the back seat of the SUV - Asphodel and Brad flanking Jen in her fine feathers to prevent escape - giggling and cursing at the ridiculousness of it all...The Monstrosity, of love, of chosen family, of Life.
The bottom ruffle tore almost immediately. Someone carelessly stepped on it...it might have been Hardy, apologizing profusely in his soft, southern lilt. No matter. The skirt, like life, was meant to be worn, lived in, and loved to the hilt - trodden upon, glorified, revered, torn, tousled, cherished until it's left in tatters at which point it gets sewn as patches in a love quilt to wrap one's self in on a chilly autumn night.
We - the five of us - joked around at the venue...
Make way for the skirt! was the proclamation. Most obliged. Compliment after compliment was paid.
I love your outfit! heard again and again.
The Monstrosity would not - could not - be ignored.
In some ways it was.
Nary a picture was taken of The Monstrosity that night. Instead, picture upon picture of me got snapped - my outfit (inspired by The Monstrosity, I dressed up as outrageously as I could on short notice), my hair, my face - by a handful of people who, for whatever reason, thought me and my feathers were photo worthy. It felt great. Even when the paranoia and anxiety set in, wondering if those pictures were going to show up on the internet somewhere as a vehicle of hilarity, I pushed those feelings aside and enjoyed feeling beautiful. Unique. Larger than life.
It was a damn fine night.
The Monstrosity didn't make its way back to Salt Lake City with Naked Jen when she left. Deemed too large to fit in her already filled-to-bursting-with-glitter suitcase and, frankly, too ridiculous - even for a naked faerie - to wear on the airplane, she left it here in my care with instructions to send it on the slow boat from China at my leisure.
And so it laid for the next 3 weeks, just as she left it, draped over my Great-Aunt Lue's steamer trunk in the living room of The Grotto, waiting for her to return to retrieve it or waiting for me to get off my duff and send it on to whom it belonged.
And then...an e-mail...
Is there any possible way that you can shove that monstrosity of wonder in a box and mail it to me before November 1? I am going to Florida and need it for a PARADE. Yes, a parade. On the beach. With flags. I KNOW!!
Of course this means I have to carry it some how on a plane to FLORIDA, but you know, I'll work out the transport.
It would just be the perfect thing to wear. Of course if it is too much bother, do not bother. I mean it. I'll figure something out. I have no shortage of things in the box. As we know.
I love you. More.
Are you kidding? Say no? Say it's a bother?! How could I possibly say no? A parade?! On The Beach?! WITH FLAGS?!?!?! Of course I couldn't say no to THAT!
Last weekend then, Acr0nym and I shoved The Monstrosity into a box that, at first glance, wouldn't seem to have the capacity to bear such glittery tidings. And yet, with the help of a third set of hands - two pair to squeeze together and hold the box flaps closed and one pair to tape the box shut - we managed to contain all the magnificence of The Monstrosity of Wonder into a plain cardboard box that belied its contents for shipping to an especially extraordinary woman.
I forgot to warn her that contents would explode upon opening. *laughing* And it did explode upon opening in a shower of glittery shrapnel. The only kind of bomb debris that ought to be.
But when Jen tweeted tonight, "what constitutes a true *fairy* skirt? one that requires handlers in order for you to actually wear it. am dubbing this thing *THEJANE*", I might have cried.
Because it's kinda apt.
I am a monstrosity. I am a ticking time bomb...waiting to explode. I do, occasionally, require handlers...4 of them + a work spouse. I do, sometimes, appear ridiculous, out of place, and over-the-top. I, at times, do feel trodden upon, glorified, revered, torn, tousled, cherished until I'm left in tatters and discarded into a cardboard box waiting to be sewn into a patchwork quilt...or until the box is opened and I explode out of it again.
I am, at my best, a spectacular thrift store find...a vision of silver lamé and tulle. At my worst, I am the same, but with a torn ruffle (or 3) around the bottom. Filthy from having been dragged carelessly along the curb and in the street - when the curb wouldn't have me.
And yet...I am still parade and flag worthy. Right? RIGHT?!