She put her luggage down, a neat collection of sturdy, easily-hauled pieces. She normally packed light, but she did some shopping this trip, and felt an odd sense of accomplishment in bringing new things to her rather shabby apartment. No, not shabby--just used. Lived in. It just seemed shabby after the glamour and flimsiness of the tourist world.
Straightening her back, she brushed her hair out of her face--somebody said it fell gracefully, once--and looked around the messy room, full of books and papers and things that should have been picked up before she left, but she didn't have the time or motivation, then, anyway. That would change, in a minute.
Over a cup-o-noodles (the kettle, too, was dusty), she contemplated her surroundings and then finished the last spoonful with a slurp. Nodding decidedly, she put on a cd of . . . well, classical wouldn't hurt. Vivaldi would do--that's what she heard at the concert, while she was away. Vivaldi's "Spring" played as she tidied the room, dusting, sweeping, mopping, replacing the armchair and curio where they stood near the window.
Another check on her feeling of accomplishment: she unpacked her bags. Dirty things in the laundry, clean things back folded up, new clothes put in the wardrobe. A few small items went into a silk bag that held a few special things; a camisole embroidered by her great grandmother, some lingerie from the time everybody thought she was going to get married . . . ugh, better not dredge up that one. The silk bag retreated to a shelf in the back of the wardrobe (she knocked on the back of it, to make sure).
Alright, the apartment has got its makeover. She ran hot water and spent a leisurely time putting herself back together. She noticed oddly that her bathrobe was threadbare and her slippers uncomfortably dirty (she ended up putting on socks instead), but sat down at the vanity anyway, and opened a drawer of rarely used cosmetics. A few of them got tossed in the trash bin immediately, but she took the others out, for the color. Water dripped down the back of her toweled neck, making her shiver and she turned the light switch and compared the colors with her skin. The ones she liked got put neatly into her handbag.
Clean clothes, warm shirts--her jeans would have to spend another turn in the dryer . . . Vivaldi was on "Spring" again. Alright, there, she was dressed. Her hair was still wet, though, so she stepped onto the cold tile to put on the kettle again. May as well have a cup of tea (loose leaf, of course).
Hair dried, brushed, oiled, and put up; she put on her jacket and stepped out the door with her handbag, to buy new foundation, mascara, blush, lotion . . . maybe some new jewelry. Something had changed, in that trip. Something about traveling gave her a new feeling that something in her life quite had to change. Stand up straight, she told herself.
I'd love to feel this change when I come home, but really I just feel like I have so much to do and so little time to do it in (and so little fashion sense) that there is a determined fatalism in deciding to do anything but make myself a cup of tea and crawl into bed. Speaking of . . .