It was time. Past time. I stood with one hand poised over the trash can holding my bra. The elastic on the straps was shot, the material puckered around the back where it meets the hooks and eyes. There is no longer any support offered, but yet the cups now seem woefully big for me - or is it that with the advancement of time, my boobs have shrunk yet again.
Standing over the trash with the bra, I hesitate. My conviction wavers. What if I just keep the bra as a back up, some emergency moment when all the other bras fail me or are in the wash? The truth is this — this bra has been good to me.
This bra has supported me through the last three years. It has taken me through parent teacher conferences, been there for medical pronouncements, supported me when the doctor called to tell me the lump was benign. It has exercised with me, walked and hiked. It had held me together while my husband recovered from injury and I tried to buck up my children’s fears. It has grocery shopped and gone on girls’ weekends. It’s been to concerts and gotten sweaty in raspberry fields and while doing yard work. This bra has seen me at my very best and most joyous and put up with me through the headaches, the petty and snippy moments, the nagging.
I’d bought the bra in a group of three—one black and two nude, skin color they called it, although I have yet to meet someone with that truly pinkish color of flesh. But one of the fleshy ones was defective, one strap kept coming unhooked, and so it found its way to the back of my drawer. This one, the one I held now, had become, by default, my go-to bra. How many hundred times had I washed it by hand with Woolite?
But the support was gone. And now, with the passage of time, there seemed to be a chasm between the lip of the bra cup and the flesh of my breast. Its like the space between two glaciers. There is no longer any contact. You could lay an entire banana between the gap between my breasts and my bra now. Sigh.
I hate bra shopping. Hate it. Perhaps if I had perfect, perky boobs or a boob job where they sat like mounds of dewy perfection I’d enjoy this exercise. But bra shopping to me is an exercise in facing my flaws in a fluorescent mirror. It’s a little bit like whipping a cat-o-nine-tails over your back.
So as I held the bra over the trash, a sort of simple bra-prayer played over my mind; the kind of thing one mentally mumbles when a hamster or gold fish dies. You have a flash of remorse for the thing that was, even though it didn’t live on the grand emotional scale afforded a cat, dog or human being.
Here was the thing. I had already replaced that bra. I’d gone to Victoria’s Secret with my teenaged daughter, determined to walk out of there with something appropriate and well fitting. We’d chosen three again, one black and two that pinkishy nude of a band-aid, nothing racy, lacey or with demi-cups. Once again I’d ended up with something sensibly supportive.
With one last look and a sigh, I dropped the bra unceremoniously into the garbage trash. Covered with coffee grounds and rotten broccoli and the leavings of the previous meal, it seemed an inglorious end to something that had been so intimate.
I imagine it now, in some kind of land-fill heaven. I envision sea gulls dive bombing the area for food scraps as the bra stands, cups outstretched to the sky, silently holding together its little patch of hill.