The Widow Hat

The rain beat down so hard on the windshield it was like God himself was mad. May didn’t care though, she kept driving under the moody, black sky. She was eager to embrace her new motto: “Live each day as if it were my last.” Actually, it was more than a motto; it was part of her life-changing epiphany.

As the storm got worse, May adjusted her fancy black hat, leaned closer to the steering wheel and squinted. As a huge crack of thunder and a long bolt of lightning danced through the sky, she let out a small yelp. She laughed when the moment passed, mumbling to herself: “You’re such a Scaredy Cat.” She didn’t even see the other car coming.

The day before …

May was standing in her backyard, admiring her sunflowers, when for no apparent reason, she had the aforementioned ephipany. She couldn’t believe it. Her bottom lip started quivering. “Things like this never happen in June,” she thought to herself. She dropped her sun hat (it was more of a reflex) ran into her house, raced up the stairs, swung open the door to her bedroom and made a bee-line for her closet. Before stepping inside, May paused for a few seconds to catch her breath, then she closed her eyes.

By memory, she reached for the string attached to the overhead light and yanked it. Hastily, she grabbed her step stool and propped it just so just so she could reach the very top shelf of her closet. It was there (in pretty boxes) she’d tucked away all the beautiful things she’d ever collected in life; clothing, jewelry and shoes (all of an exquisite nature.) The last time she remembered seeing what she was looking for was July of 2009 – but she knew it was there, somewhere, packed away with her other precious things.

Finally, May spied it. She grabbed the box, dusted it off, lifted the lid and pulled out The Widow Hat. She didn’t know if it was a bad omen, but downstairs in the kitchen, she heard the song Stormy Weather come on the radio. The melody echoed through the house, against the hardwood floors and floated up to greet her like an old friend.

May had bought the hat a long time ago, on a hot summer day, in August. It was a birthday present to herself. She swore she’d wear it come September… but the months melded together and before she knew it, it was October. May thought donning a black hat during Halloween was a bit scary, so she waited for the 31st to pass. The black layered, tulle-like hat, even seemed a bit morose for the holidays, so she tucked it away during November and December.

May really wanted to wear it come January, to celebrate the New Year, but she didn’t have the time or the energy. She wasn’t feeling the love in February either. You see, May didn’t buy The Widow Hat because someone had died. Matter-of-fact, she’d never even been married. She bought it because she thought it to be lovely. Plus, the designer had gifted it such a mysterious, provocative name. Still, she worried wearing it around Valentine’s Day translated into “dying love” – so, she tossed out that far-fetched fashion idea, too.

May jumped off the step stool and walked to the closest mirror. She stared at her reflection and tried to figure out why she had waited so long to wear The Widow Hat. She loved it as much as the day she bought it. She then, delicately, placed the hat atop her head and started to cry.

Immediately, she ran back into her closet and in one fell swoop, in a frustrated craze, knocked all the pretty boxes off the top shelf. It stormed that day, metaphorically speaking, with all the things May had tucked away for a rainy day. She sunk to her knees, in the middle of the beautiful disaster that strangely reflected the way she had been living her life. Tearfully, she promised herself: “Tomorrow. I’ll start tomorrow.”

The next morning, May grabbed her purse and car keys off of the hall table. More importantly, she headed out – with The Widow Hat on. That’s when the downpour started. The rain beat down so hard on the windshield it was like God himself was mad…

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