One finger for every pie.

One colour for every intention.

The first thought that flashed through my head when I saw the gloves.  I was in a Norwich shop called ‘Head in the Clouds’ – apparently, UK’s oldest head shop.  I didn’t know what a head shop was, until a friend explained it to me, a few weeks ago.  Knitted gloves with garish stripes, like a Naïve rainbow.  I want these gloves.

When I was twenty-five, I wore black leather gloves with tiny golden clasps on the wrists.  So fine, I could fumble for small change in my purse without taking them off.  In those days, I would ensure that my shoes, handbag and gloves matched.  Never one brown, the others black.  I would never, ever have worn anything so loud and garish, so look-at-me.

I decide to buy the gloves as a fiftieth birthday present to me from my twenty-five-year-old self.  The self that wishes she had been less afraid, had had the courage to be herself, and live, instead of spending the next quarter of a century only dreaming, planning, rehearsing.

When I bring them home, I notice that they give off a slightly overpowering, heady scent.  It’s what you always seem to smell in crystal and New Age shops.  I think it’s sandalwood.  I lift them up to H.’s face.  He immediately retreats with a snort.  “Camden Town, 1971.”

I call the shop and ask what the scent is.  The sales assistant is enthusiastic.  “Oh, it’s Nag Champa.  It’s very popular – we have three different kinds.  Next time you come in…”

As politely as I can, I explain that I don’t actually like the smell – but reassure her that I’m not complaining but merely enquiring.  Just curiosity, that’s all.

I make a mental note to fumigate the gloves in frankincense when I am next burning some.

Rainbow gloves with red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, blue and purple stripes.  Red thumbs, orange index fingers, yellow middle fingers, green ring fingers, turquoise little fingers.  Gloves not afraid to be noticed – and they invariably are noticed and commented on when I go shopping, see friends or stop off for coffee.  A friend says they particularly stand out in contrast with the rest of my – conservative – appearance.

Bright, bold colours to empower my hands, to endow them with creativity and courage.  A finger for every intention on my fiftieth birthday.

Red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise.

This finger for writing.

This finger for music.

This finger for drawing.

This finger for translating.

And the little finger for… for discovering new skills.

Both hands for receiving and accepting gifts.

I’ve done my preparing, my growing up, my sowing.

The time has come for doing, for living, for reaping.  For enjoying.

Half a century.  Wow.  Fifty years young.

As Georges Guétary says in An American in Paris, I am now “old enough to know what to do with my young feelings”.


Scribe Doll

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14 Responses to Fifty

  1. Happy Birthday, Katia! You are such a celebrater of beautiful moments and things that I think the gloves found you in order to have someone to appreciate them, rather than you finding them. I hope you have a great year. Fifty is a good year to look back and take stock, and plan ahead. I hope you enjoy it, because I know that whatever happens, you will have lovely and intelligent ways of confronting life’s events.

  2. Christine Clare says:

    Happy, Happy Birthday! I absolutely loved this essay, perhaps because I am 51. What a wonderful statement: “I decide to buy the gloves as a fiftieth birthday present to me from my twenty-five-year-old self.” Yes! I am so glad that you are embracing both color and your creativity. In The Wisdom of Menopause Christiane Northrup, MD, tells us that this stage of life is a gift for women, a chance to embrace the interests we may have shelved earlier and/or to experience something new we’ve never tried before. May it be so. May you have the good health and resources to embrace this next chapter of your life with both brightly colored hands. 🙂

    • scribedoll says:

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’ve heard many good things about Dr Christiane Northrup, and I think I’ll get the book you recommend. Yes – it’s good to get to the age where you also don’t care quite so much about what other people think of you.

  3. Natal Day Greetings for your 50th, whenever it was, Katia. For me, it is socks of all colors and sorts. The wilder the better. despite my otherwise conservative appearance. ~nan
    Love the gloves, by the way! 🙂

    • scribedoll says:

      Thank you, Nan. Yes – I buy black socks with brightly-coloured toes and heels. This way, I can look conservative on the outside – but enjoy knowing I have colours on my feet :–)

  4. evanatiello says:

    Happy Birthday, dear one! I will never again look at a rainbow without thinking of you! I hope your celebration matches your magnificence! xoxo

  5. Sue Cumisky says:

    Keep your head in the clouds, feet on the ground and your gloves full of magic words. ( I have not got your skills, sorry). Happy 50th, and welcome to more of life. It definitely gets funnier! And here is to friendship wherever it is found.

  6. Tops my pink cerise leg-warmers, a bit like the thumbs on your gloves. The coulour gives me much joy and draws surprised looks, which also gives me joy 🙂 Happy birthday ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ and bright things to come.

  7. sammee44 says:

    Congratulations on your 50th, Katia. I want you to know you’ve barely “scratched” the surface and there’s a lot of living out there ready to be conquered! Here’s to the next 50th! Cheers, J 😉

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