An Apron Like That
It is a stiff white apron that walks through my memory. Sometimes there is a woman attached to it, but it is the apron that matters. I can’t explain why, and God knows, enough shrinks and psychics have tried to pry it out of me, but I don’t remember whose apron or why, only my futile attempts to reproduce some initiating event.
Starched white cotton with a scalloped clamshell skirt, the bow wide and perfectly tied. Sometimes a bib is attached, often as not it’s gone. But the apron follows my nocturnal and subconscious meanderings – bright, clean, efficient, flared.
“Did you have a nasty nanny?” asked one well meaning social worker. I wanted to wrap her cloying smile in the starched white cotton until I’d wiped it clear off her face, but I just sighed and said, No, I’ve never had a nanny.
Even now, as we’re talking, it’s stalking me: a naked apron, moving smoothly on an invisible body, there, in the wings, ready to give or take, set or wipe, all the things that aprons do.
I think if I remembered, it might desist, might shine a light on whose apron or why, and I might feel some mythic, textbook resolution. But I might also miss it, and that would be sad. I mean, it’s loyal as a dog, this scrap of fabric. It’s always waiting, never quarrels, and I must admit to recognizing a certain sense of humor in its comings and goings, bib-less and not, a whimsy that somehow only a disembodied apron can achieve.
It’s late, though. I’d love to tell you more, but it is getting late. I feel a headache coming on. I imagine that the apron will dip itself in water to soothe my brow and wrap itself around me till I fall asleep. Yes, I suppose I would miss it if it left, if they made it go, explained it away with drugs or memory. It catches me, somehow, after all these years. Soothes me. And isn’t that the job of an apron, after all, to catch what falls and splatters. I guess it does a good job. And the ribbons are so beautifully tied, the ruffles so clean… You can trust an apron like that. It will catch everything.