Aging Eyes

Note to Readers: In 2016, our state association for non-profit senior living and senior care facilities, called LeadingAge Texas, hosted an art and writing contest called “ArtsInspire.” This article won in the prose selection. The author, Lydia Blanchard, age 78 upon completion, read the story aloud to the group at the reception and it brought chuckles to all of us. Enjoy!
~Jen Griffin

The Short Short Story of My New Blouse
Lydia Blanchard, September 2015

I bought the new blouse through a catalogue. It was more than I usually spend, but it met many requirements—including the fit (very loose), the color (basic black—goes with everything), and the embroidery (enough to cover a dinner’s allotment of spills). And although it was more than I usually spend, it was on sale—and I could tell my husband—honestly—how much I saved by buying it. When the blouse arrived, I was pleased.

I rarely have on anything new. But last night I wore my new blouse, with a pair of black slacks, to the meeting of my book club, and I waited for the compliments. When we walked in, and I had taken off my coat, I heard Flo say “You look beautiful in black”—but when I turned around with a smile, I realized she was talking to Jane, who did indeed look beautiful in a new black outfit. Still, I sat down in good spirits and waited.

The small talk began. We drank white wine and ate cashews and talked about trips people had taken since our last meeting. Jane and Dan had been to Honduras and Judith had been to Minnesota and Louise had been to her ranch in West Texas. My husband and I had been to the Outlet Mall, but we didn’t say anything about that, and although we talked about what Judith had bought in Minnesota, I didn’t say anything about my new blouse. We complimented her new watch, and I was patient.

Then we sat down to dinner and ate pork that Judith had brined and rubbed and people complimented the meat and also the gratin of potatoes that my husband and I had prepared from an old Julia Child recipe (using chicken broth, not milk), but no one complimented my blouse. We finished dinner with a many-layered trifle that Jane and Dan had created, then moved to the couch and discussed at length the book we had read (Euphoria by Lily King) and its sorrow-filled ending— the image of an ivory button with blue thread—and we chose a new book for next month (Still Life by Louise Penny, a mystery), and still no one said a thing about my new blouse. I gave up.

So then we picked up the au gratin dish and our books and headed home and rode up in the elevator in our apartment building and I got off on our floor and my husband followed me and I heard him say, as we walked down the hall, “Did you know your blouse is inside out?”

And today, when I was telling the story to my son, he said, “Mother, did you know that blouse is blue, not black?”

And tomorrow I am getting new glasses.

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