Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beauty and The Beast Do Battle

    I remember the battle of the beauty and the beast. Oh I remember it well and still shiver to think of it. It was well over 30 years ago and yet it seems like only yesterday. Amazing how these battles ring forth through the ages. Not even the Napoleonic Wars or the ever infamous (and still on-going) Un-Civil War between the North and the South can claim such a resounding memory.
    The skirmishes began long before the battle broke out. Small scrappy little skirmishes with lots of collateral damage among the innocent bystanders. A truce was reached and both parties withdrew to their borders, but the hostilities still burned. It took years of simmering, festering and plotting until the ultimate weapon was created. It would bring the enemy to their knees and victory would be won.
    Alas, the trumpets trumpeted, the flutes fluted, the drums beat, and war was declared between beauty and the beast. Serious, quite serious and there, 30 plus years later sits the constant reminder that I lost the battle. I surrendered. I tapped out and caved. All the years of absolute perfect pouting, screaming, sullen faces went down the drain. It sits and mocks me on the beloved piano. THE PICTURE. Oh it shivers me timbers to see it even now. THE PICTURE as it is known. I laid down all weapons and agreed to have a “glamour photo” session for my mama.
    I’m blue jeans, sweat pants kind of girl. Since these are forbidden at work, I eschew the preferred fashion. I dress in oxford shirts, sweat shirts and hoodies. If no jeans, I wear Dockers and always, always I must have pockets. I am not Barbie. I am not even Midge.
    Mama? Oh she and my aunt were the perfect mothers for little frilly, dressed up Barbie girls with their perms and make-up. Me? I’m out playing football with my brother. Dressed up meant I washed my hands and face. Mama tried, oh how she tried… until the clerks at the stores, innocent bystanders grabbing their children and running to the next department made even her realize that maybe it wasn’t meant to be. Now, take me to the jeans department and we had a grand time. We gradually de-escalated the hostilities. She would bring the frilly dresses home and we would engage in full contact sports trying to get me to put it on. Dad just went to his office and worked. Over time, we compromised and the tailored shirts were brand name and the pocketed slacks had a pleat. Fair enough.
    I guess time makes you lose vigilance and you stop being on the alert for those ever unsuspecting sneak attacks. It was around her birthday and she asked me if I would have my picture taken. It was an innocent question to which I said yes. Then, oh so clever was my mama, she described the photo would be one of those 'glamour' high styling photo sessions.
     A day at the hair salon taming my natural wild and wooly hair was followed by a make-up session. She and my aunt whisked me away quickly to the photographers where they unveiled my dress. The photographer, astute to notice the ball and chain, ropes and big burly bouncer standing next to them began taking pictures as quickly as he could. Not even Fred Astaire could tap as quickly as his camera was clicking. It was done. Over. I could gather the wounded and retreat across the border to safety. Until I went home to visit and there it was-THE PICTURE, aka beauty and the beast do battle, sitting on top of my beloved beautiful piano. It’s just wrong.
    After almost thirty plus years it is still there waiting, lurking and taunting me when i visit my Dad. I play my treasured piano with eyes closed. 'She' watches me and mocks my surrender. But it can stay there. It belongs there. It made her smile while she was alive. Me…. I’m bidding my time and keeping the shredder oiled.