I have this wool scarf that is pink and red striped, like a cinnamon candy cane. It's from the Gap and it's about ten years old.
I love it.
When I twined it around my neck this morning it didn't just keep me snug from the fall air, it made me feel snug on the inside, too. You see, this scarf and I had a moment ten years ago.
We've all been there, when you see something you just love from across a crowded room, or shopping mall, as the case may be. You're drawn close as if by some accident of gravity, and then comes that first touch. Hand on wool. It's the perfect width, you learn, to wrap your neck. It won't leave you exposed and it won't try to smother you, covering your mouth and nose. It's even two of your favorite colors. You'd given up on finding that.
Your needs, wants, and even desires you didn't know you had, all in one place.
And then you hold it close, look at the tag and...agony among agonies, it's too much. Sure, it seemed too good to be true. Because it was. Now you've gotten involved, felt the warmth of the perfect scarf, the way it molds to you, makes your whole countenance brighter--and your neck warmer--and you have to let go.
Why, oh why?
If only you'd never seen it. If only you'd peered in the Banana window instead of Gap. But now, every time you pass, your eyes will catch the cheerful colors and you'll remember. Your neck will feel the phantom warmth, and your soul will get cold.
Christmas shopping is a bittersweet mission now. You know while you're looking for the perfect set of moose slippers for your brother you'll see the scarf. But that's nothing compared to the chill of seeing it pass by, coiled around the neck of another.
Then, after you've resigned yourself to a life a little frostier than you'd wish, a friend hands you a Christmas present.
A picture frame? Too light. A gift card to Starbucks? Too big.What, then?
And as the paper peels back and a navy Gap box appears, your heart accelerates. No. It couldn't be.
The top slides back and there, nestled in pristine white paper is the perfect combination of red and pink wool. It's more lovely than you remembered and it's yours. All yours.
You pull it free, loop it around your neck and it's like the separation never happened. As if the scarf knew too, that it was meant to be with you.
That was this scarf for me. It represents Christmas presents, favorite colors, generous friends, and happy endings. And I'm grateful for all of those things in one lovely package.