Lately on my morning run, I see two women of a certain age, strolling, with beautiful scarves wrapped around their heads, Caribbean style.
You see them like lights a half a mile away, their colors brushing the Park’s landscape like oil paint.
When we pass each other, we smile and nod, silently sharing the gifts of early morning…the coolness, the quiet, except for birdsong that plays softly above our heads.
After my run, I decide to clean my scarf drawer, no doubt inspired by them, though I don’t wear them the same way, I too own quite a few.
As I sort and refold, I come upon three my late friend Jackie had given me.
She was never without one around her neck, French style, teaching me at a tender age, it’s a nice touch to any outfit.
I think of the smiling women ambling down the hill, happy in their pressed, loose shifts allowing their bodies the freedom to be what they are without shame or restraint, simple sandals on their feet, big bags yet to be filled with the day’s bounty.
When I see them again, I give them each a scarf.
They’re surprised but pleased, accepting them with a girlish, giggly delight.
The next morning when I see them, they have them on glistening in the sunshine. One, a lemon yellow, the other, a blushing pink.
Their smiles could melt ice, matching mine, as we stand along Hamilton Heights preening in approval.
But when I get home, a wave of melancholia sweeps over me like a sudden T-storm, thinking of Jackie.
Was it wrong of me to give those scarves away?
I go and get the one that’s left, tying it loosely around my neck, the blue, red and green laced with white playing peekaboo in the mirror.
“All you need is one of anything that you love,” I hear Jackie say.
My heart settles, the gloom lifts, as I think of three women now, not two, honoring a woman who at 20, schooled me in simple style.
I’ve been wearing mine everyday around my neck, just the way she taught me.
A perfect way to remember my good friend I know is smiling at me from the ether, no doubt wearing hers.