Fate with a Handbag

Photo: Julie Nichols
Photo: Julie Nichols

It was love at first sight, at first sight before the price tag at least. Everyone has been there before; bought something they didn’t really need but was too beautiful to live without. Then logic strikes your brain waging war on the pheromones egging you to put this item in your hands and never ever let it go. Logic comes in outnumbered 2 to 1 in the battlefield of your mind but unwilling to give up a war not yet forged. It says in a voice of command, “Do you really need this item?” “Is this really within your price range at the moment?” And with every question you deflate knowing the answer, “No.” and again, “No”. So you walk away unsure when you two will meet again and if it will be in a place where you can buy this coveted item or if it will be worn by a work friend you’re meeting for lunch and jealousy will surge through the entire interaction. And it was these thoughts that have you mad dashing across the store to claim that beauty no matter the price. Fighting the twists and turns to be reunited and standing in line like “Yes! Yes! Yes!”. Shakily handing over your credit card as the price rings up but knowing in your mind and soul it was meant to be. Walking out of the store driving home, and looking yourself in the mirror, when logic flashed through your eyes. Guilt. This was not the purchase you should have made. No, you don’t regret buying it. But yet there is guilt looming in your mind, while logic was defeated in the store, the remembrance of the battle still wafts. This was the scene that played in my mind on my last shopping trip. This is a scene that plays in a lot of my shopping trips to be honest.

Spring has come. The heat has descended upon the state, the birds and love bugs buzzing across the now in bloom flowers out in my family’s garden. And my favorite part of the season, the spring collection of designs is now gracing the various stores of town. It is at this time, fresh for the season with a bank account ready to spend from which I make most of my “accidental purchases”. Those that make me question if I really am a responsible adult about to head off to university, or a kid who should not have been granted a checking account for all of her splendid transactions. My recent accidental purchase, one bright orange, gorgeous on all accounts, but completely unnecessary purse. Now I own six main purses and many as I call them “sub-ins’ ‘in case one purse is out of commission for any reason. So truly in my heart I knew there was no reason for this buy, and yet the minute I walked into the perfumed air of the department store I was drawn to the delicacy like a moth to the light. My mind relishing in the outfits this pop of color could bring forth from my closet. I slightly blame the quarantine for giving me a shopping deficiency that left my mind malleable to this purse’s excellent charm for the extravagant purchase, but I will say I was strong at first. As this trip to the store was supposed to be a wander through and so with a longing look of star-crossed lovers just not meant to be. I whispered a sweet goodbye to my friend and left the purse aisle to wander the clearance section of the store. For something much more in my price range. While plunging into the ten-dollar clearance dresses, part of my mind and honestly my heart was stuck on the orange mirage that was calling to me from three aisles over.

Photo: Julie Nichols
Photo: Julie Nichols

I focused myself on the pieces I knew were for me, understanding that if it was meant to be, I would see her again. Maybe in another lifetime or another store. With no try on during this time of the pandemic it wasn’t a long trip as I grabbed my hopeful items and made way to the checkout in cheerful chatter from my mom who had stood witness to my moment of love with said purse. Now like any good store the checkout line was as long as possible with a maze of last-minute trinkets lining the walls to hopefully pull you from leaving the labyrinth-like store. Sunglasses with cat eyes, hand sanitizers with tropical scents all calling to you, “Please don’t leave.” “Stay with us forever.” And I, a seasoned veteran to the antics, was a horse in her starting gate, focused and unable to be distracted by such childish ploys, or so I thought. As I turned the corner of the maze, my purse sat, bestowed on her pedestal like a goddess welcoming worship. It was fate. I didn’t need another lifetime or another store. There was my purse staring me down from her place of wonder and I was helpless. Without thoughts of my own I waded through the lesser trinkets to stand in the glory of the orange star in this store’s show. Logic bounced in my head with shouts of reason, drowned in the basking light of this piece. It was meant to be mine. I couldn’t deny it any longer, I was powerless to stop the coming wave of motions, grabbing the item off the shelf and proudly procuring it through the transaction at the cash register. One purse. One woman. And one accidental purchase.