My Winter Coat

What not to wear when your lover shows up unexpectedly.

By Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown // Photo by Billy Brown

have finally faced the fact that my lover has gone and have begrudgingly settled into a wintry state of mind. I found my favorite comfy yoga pants, my warm and cozy sweaters and my fuzzy socks and slippers. I’ve stocked up on my favorite hot teas and found my favorite mugs, and set out my favorite winter-scented candles. I even made a trip to the library and checked out some books for a season of fireside reading of everything from inspirational guides to murder mystery “who dunnits?”. I’ve organized all my winter soup recipes, and made a plan to get my play finally written. Then, I wake up one morning to find that my secret love has arrived in town wanting to go out and spend some time together without any warning at all!

Which is most unfortunate because I hadn’t planned on shaving for another two months. What am I going to wear? Neither I, nor anyone in existence, is ready to see my winter body—pale, hairy legs and all. When I say “warm and fuzzy” winter clothes, I am including my unshaven winter coat which keep my legs nice and warm on those cold winter days.

It’s like I woke up in an alternate universe—the one I’m usually dreaming about during the cold dark days of winter until I finally give in to the fact that it is February. After all, my summer romance is long gone and it’s supposed to be a high of 32. So, I accept it. I go about and cozy up my nest to hibernate in for the next two months and dream of the next time we will meet only to wake up out of my winter bed feeling the familiar warm breath teasing me awake. Actually, I woke up sweating, throwing the covers off of me. Not because the heat was on, but because it was actually warmer in the house than I set the thermostat to. The heat didn’t have a chance to come on. No matter that it was just below freezing less than eight hours ago. Now, it’s record highs today. My lover is fickle.

Suddenly, I have a lot of appointments to book. I wasn’t planning on having to start shaving, getting regular hair touchups, having my pedicures, or re-learning how to self-tan. I’m not ready to start my New Year’s resolution of getting into shape! It’s not fair! I was counting on another two to two-and-a-half months’ reprieve. I wasn’t ready for all the self-maintenance. With everything hiding under a thick layer of clothes, hats and gloves, I was saving a lot of money! I have discovered that the cost of a winter coat is very cheap compared to how much I spend on keeping up my appearance for my lover.

And, with the arrival of my romantic ideal, I can’t stand the smell of winter scented candles. I need something light and refreshing like the smell of lemons or something romantic like roses. Everything must be replaced. I need iced tea! And it looks like that play I was going to write is going to have to be written next winter, because when my love is in town we spend all our time out doing things together, not cooped up inside working. An on again/off again love affair is very intoxicating.

I’m not actually complaining about these 60 degree days because warm weather is my lover. I pine for it when it’s gone away. I dream of it and make all sorts of plans for having picnics in the park and other romantic things to do when we are finally reunited. And, just like the lover that unexpectedly shows up out of the blue, I am caught off guard and a little bit irritated that it didn’t give me a fair warning. I didn’t have time to get ready. I was denied the chance to meet it looking my very best. Instead, I open the door, expecting to feel a blast of cold winter air, in my oldest comfy clothes, no makeup, hair unwashed, and needing to shave. We aren’t supposed to meet like this.

So, I have scheduled all my grooming appointments, started doing my planks, and bought a pack of new razors. My winter coat sure is a lot cheaper than my warm weather wardrobe. I spend a lot of money to be with my love.

I remind myself to enjoy this unexpected visit because I know that soon enough I will miss the cozy warm embrace, the flirtatious playing with my hair and the gentle caresses on my cheek, and once again be left to face the cold with bare legs when I open the door and find that my lover has gone and winter has returned.

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