Handbag Monday welcomes...
I hadn’t planned on spending Day 1 of Life after Breast Cancer Diagnosis in a mall, but my friend Karen insisted. “Once those chemo appointments start, you’ll have no time to shop. Get everything now, and you won’t be scrambling later.”
As we walked through the mall, I mentally planned my shopping list: nightgowns, pajamas, a new robe, comfy day clothes. I was surprised when Karen pointed to my black, leather purse. “You’ll need a larger bag for when you start your treatments. Something more durable that’ll hold its shape.”I started to argue and then stopped. After all, she was the seasoned warrior who had already traveled this path.
Purses are easy, I thought. I don’t have to worry about sizes and dressing rooms. And, in this case, form would follow function. Or so I thought.
To my surprise, I found myself rejecting almost every bag I saw that day. I didn’t like the expensive leather totes, and I turned up my nose at the Plain Jane canvas bags. And then I saw it.The perfect chemo bag – a riot of colors, shapes, symbols, numbers, and words – designed by Alma Atonutti.
Lover’s Choice | Distance Runner | The Who | Keep It Light | Space | Earth | Savings Service | 123456 | $ | abcdefghijk“There’s no sense or meaning to any of these words or symbols,” Karen said, shaking her head. “And all those clashing colors. But if you like the hippie bag, go ahead and buy it.”
That hippie bag became my constant companion during chemo, surgery, and radiation. I threw everything into the bag and still there was room for more. I was often reminded of Mary Poppins’ bottomless carpetbag that yielded an assortment of items. And her timeless advice: Dig deep and you will find your treasures.
A brunette lottery winner never has an alibi when dead blondes turn up in dumpsters near her favorite haunts.
I noticed a man making his way through the crowd that had gathered outside the front window. Tall and lean with salt and pepper hair, the man sported a black leather coat and a light gray suit. When he stopped to talk with Uncle Paolo, he flashed a badge. As I approached the two men, my heart started beating faster. Carlo Fantin. How could I have forgotten my old high school crush? If anything, he looked even better now than he did back then. He hadn’t bulked up or lost his hair. He was still hunk material.
He stared, his blue eyes widening in surprise and something else I couldn’t quite define. Amusement. Anticipation. Maybe even lust. Whatever it was, he had stopped talking to Uncle Paolo and was now giving me his full attention.
He flashed the beautiful smile that had once captivated me and every other female student at Sudbury Secondary. “Hello, Gilda. It’s good to see you again. Uh, in spite of these circumstances.”
“Hi Carlo, I’m–”
“Detective Fantin.” My uncle shouted.
Before I could say anything, Aunt Amelia piped up, “We’re so glad you came, Detective. We’ll sleep better tonight knowing that you’re in charge.”
My mother and Sofia appeared at my side. All those years ago when I had fantasized about connecting with Carlo, I had envisioned many wonderful scenarios where we would bump into each other and fall in love—on the beach, dance floor, even at a bar. Never in a million years, did I think we would reconnect in these circumstances with my family in tow.
Find Joanne at: Website
Find the Season for Killing Blondes at: Amazon
Joanne, I love that a handbag carried you through chemo!
Do you have a go-to bag for traveling, hospital, needlework?