I saw the colour red in the window. A bright red suit right next to the 50% off sign and I thought: I have always wanted a red suit. I went in, it didn’t fit, but they did have this (touches the suit she is wearing). As soon as I had it on, the owner who designs all the clothes began measuring me, complementing me and telling me: it fits, it looks good on you - she would just need to make a few alterations.
So I had already decided I was going to buy this suit when she pulls out a ribbon. It was a strategy for measuring an ex-employee of hers had worked out on the fly, to know how much to take in and how much to give in the alterations. She pins this ribbon across my chest, from here to there, to here, to there, all the way down (shows this with her fingers, a snaking pattern). I didn’t get it, how. I still don’t exactly. How it works, this, measuring. But it was so nice, to feel her fingers lightly working across, me (tracing the line again). It made the sale final. This is it. This is what I’ve always wanted. This red suit.
She asked me to look over the total cost on one of those old fashioned invoice boxes with the lever that moves the paper along and spits out a carbon copy of the handwritten bill for the record. “All sales final,” she says, $1800. I put it on my new credit card. I hadn’t had one for 20 years. I work as a cashier, 16 hours a week. This was ridiculous.
Before I left the store I laid my hands on the counter and I said to the designer – “this suit is going to make me lots of money.” The words just came out, like an andrenaline rush reassuring me that I would not regret the purchase and that was it – final sale.
I bought it because I’d like to go to Paris one day and I thought people would like me if I were wearing something smart. They would forgive me for being not so proficient in French, they would say, “well at least she has some taste.” And even if this suit goes out of fashion – I mean, it could be out of fashion already for all I know – at least it fits well. A tailored garment shows a certain amount of care and attention to looking good.
So – I’m here, knowing that in Paris, I might be dressing at an acceptable level. Interesting, no? Interesting to me. And it is more odd I know because for the price of the suit, I could’ve bought a ticket to Paris and stayed for a week, drinking wine and taking photographs that I might keep in a drawer for a long, long time. But no, that’s not what I hope for. I want to go to Paris forever.
But I have to go through these papers. I have to have a project to bring with me.
I can’t just go with nothing. And that’s where I caught myself: I won’t ever have nothing, I will always have myself.