For the past ten or twelve years, I’ve had a red purse that I’ve never used. Even as I was digging in my wallet to pay for it, I suspected I’d never have the nerve to carry such a purse. I could imagine the handles tucked over my shoulder and hear it shouting look at me! look at me! and knew then it wasn’t something I would easily accomplish. All these years later, it’s still tucked away in a storage box only to be admired when I’m digging through looking for something else.
I found it in an obscure strip mall shop in Las Vegas that sold brand items at deep discount, the kind of place you have to check the merchandise carefully to be sure you know what you’re getting. It’s made of the softest leather–like the finest of lambskin gloves–and has the nicest assortment of zippered inner compartments with additional pockets hidden inside each one. There’s even a deep tabbed pocket on each side. Inside it contains a matching leather-tabbed keyring but, because the matching inner folding wallet is missing, it was marked down drastically. There are plenty of other places to tuck your money, so after circling the store several times while mulling it over, thinking I’d get distracted and forget about it, I finally admitted defeat. If it’s still there when I get back, then fate has decreed that it’s mine. I circled once more to be absolutely certain, then headed back to the purse rack to claim it.
Maybe someone out there can tell me why I continue to keep it–or even better–why I bought in the first place, when I knew I couldn’t or wouldn’t use it. Even the arm chair psychologist in me has tried to figure it out many times. Its big but not obtrusive. And it’s a purse organizer’s dream. Maybe it’s the color. Red is a color of attraction. Most of the time I’d rather blend into the walls and watch, and red places you front and center. The hidden pockets inside must be important too. How about places inside where the important things can be tucked but not scrutinized. How about safe. I think much of my life has always been about keeping myself safe. Substitute the word judge for scrutiny and we may be on to something.
Meanwhile I’ll continue to hold onto it in case the day comes that I have the nerve to carry it with me for the rest of the world to see.
Postscript: Mary Margaret, this post is dedicated to you and your Red Purse Stories blog, and to all the brave women of the world not afraid to carry red purses.