Everyday as I begin my morning meditation, I can only imagine Iris taking the time to pull out a folded lawn chair, but not before readying her one-woman show, majoring in percussion.
Accessories, eye-candy/entertainment; Iris quite simply believes “more is more, and less is a bore”.
Under a pyramid of emerald tassels and Baroque embroidery, there a little head peaks out. Her glasses, the cherry on top of our shared insanity.
As the days unravel, Iris keeps watch from inside my mind. An upgrade from my screensaver, she likes her new position in the sky as she can no longer appreciate such height from wearing heels. Doctors had said a respectable “HELL-NO” to the heart-broken ninety-five year old.
Most days she watches almost silently, sticking popcorn to her lipsticked smile. I can only imagine it goes everywhere whenever I say a polite lie or attempt to walk away from a cinnamon scroll. Or a particular pair of delicious green satin peep-toes, sprinkled with pearl confetti…
And so the Iris interventions keep on coming….
From her throne, over a confused cup of creamy hot cocoa and comfort cake, Iris thought it best to state the obvious, late one Tuesday afternoon.
“Yes, that friend wasn’t ever meant to stay! So why didn’t you let them go when they bailed on you the first or third time?”
I mean how can you not admit your thoughts looking into that woman’s circular double stare?
Wednesday came with the interruption of feelings, concluding one ‘casual’ singles match, with a loss of 40 to love.
Love- like in tennis being the ultimate defeat. Or perhaps the illusion of love, which keeps you up at night for just about the same amount of time.
Iris then swooped in with a swift yet slapping intervention, as I debated with her how I needed closure from the most red-flagged human-being I have ever met.
“-Look what you have done to yourself! Do you recognise yourself? Is this really you? Or is this your leaky, lonely void doing all the talking?”
I stared back, wondering how a screensaver could speak/eye so much truth, when my best friend said all of this a few weeks ago, with her advice getting lost in the foam of my cappuccino.
“Is this really you, because through these big frames I can’t see a bit of you.”
Untouched, her stare still held me.
“Your better than this— then him.”
At this I ushered a nod, the words finally making some sense.
“And we both know it.”
Even after a few days, I knew she was right. Fortunately, Iris and I had fancied shopping and spending money we didn’t have ( just yet ), than be someone elses’ tester of humanity. Perhaps, he needed to shop about himself, in the hopes of finding an Iris of his own. Perhaps-
I ended that chapter the Iris way, by never regretting the past. Especially not something that had once brought about a different kind of glow. Her apartment an abundant testimony; each wall dressed in a different taste from a different time.
On Thursday, Iris and I missed two trains on the way to a tutorial. In-between, my coffee transferred itself into an avant-garde badge or receipt of just how shit that day was going to be.
“Stay open. Stay curious. Today still has gifts in store, you just have keep participating. We’ve got this!” She ushers forward, with those button-sized eyes of hers.
So, under instruction I readied myself to fly from the train to shoulder-charge my way into the sardine bus.
As usual, Iris turned out to be right. I wondered sometimes if she too brings similar days home with her to her fabulous NYC pad. From what I saw online, her place was clogged with bookshelves dipped in espresso and mint, yet looked cramped with papers and memorabilia that fringed on obsessive.
She has an addiction to life with a masters in the art of collection.
I wondered about her deceased husband and how he felt about her things. Maybe all those things were a distraction. Otherwise how could she stand to keep them, knowing he lent up against that french provincial table one Sunday night, whispering Louis Armstrong ballads into her bent ear.
Beginning in New Jersey, her story will end surrounded by her french provincial furniture embellishing every square foot of her Upper-East side apartment. During the night, life’s ironies must all keep her quenched and in good company.
With life-size duck eggs circling her thin neck, she is a walking testimony of all of society’s guilty pleasures piled in a heap. Everyday Iris reaffirms to the world that merely our perceptions of us and of others, aim to keep us encaged. Yet, we still place so much importance on our pasts.
Maybe, if we all wore our past with as much pride as Iris does, we would all walk a little lighter or physically a lot heavier. But definitely, more fabulous.
However, it’s easier to not want to do an Iris. To blend in and whisperer on a phone call on the train. Not to smile at those who pass, to send emoji faces instead of bearing a loud obnoxious laugh to the world, on the basis it’s inconsiderate to air when we feel filled with joy.
It’s easier to wait for the world to make its move and then we react, when perhaps it should be the other way around. Perhaps, we all need to put on our duck-egg necklaces and say what we want or feel, for us if not for others.
To stop concealing our humanity, as going against it only leaves us feeling lost and unloved.
Maybe, we loose more the less bold we are.
The less truth we speak.
The less honest we are.
Iris loves and sees things others do not. Maybe, that is simply because she is better at being honest with herself. Her complexity and rebellion captivating the world to the extent of a documentary being filmed about her.
I mean, almost a century on this earth has to teach you something special about life.
Even clustered under all of those layered fabrics and colours, she doesn’t loose sight of who she is or what she can give.