Big Girl, New Digs
Christianne’s new apartment had felt bigger before her stuff was in it.
She’d felt so boss signing on the dotted line and slipping the key onto her ring a few days ago. She’d submitted the postal system’s change of address form, relishing the physical manifestation of her adulthood.
“I feel gross,” she confessed to her sister Maria. “I’m hot. I’m sticky. And it’s December for crying out loud.”
“At least we got it all in. I guess we should change our plan for post-move peppermint mochas,” Maria answered, heaving the last box of books onto a table.
“Think we could get them iced?”
“I think I’m too exhausted to walk down the block.” Maria collapsed onto the couch. “Power nap,” she said, as she closed her eyes.
Christianne crossed into the bedroom and surveyed her space. Everything she’d wanted was here, and it felt like too much and not enough at the same time.
The apartment was cute, with new appliances and a big bathroom. It was an easy commute to her job at a consulting agency, and the rent fell just within her budget. When she showed the listing to her parents, there were no raised eyebrows, which had to mean something, right?
She ran her finger along the top of the dresser she should have measured for before she bought it online. The price made it a steal, but the fact that the drawers only opened if her bedroom door was closed upset her more than she wanted to admit. She’d laughed with Maria when they realized it didn’t fit, but really she’d been terrified that this was only the first of a slew of humiliating mistakes she was bound to make now that she was on her own.
A college degree, a job with benefits, and her own address, and still she didn’t feel like she had any business living in this city. For one thing, she hadn’t really understood all the terms of the lease. Did anyone?
Not for the first time, Christianne wondered if you really could fake it ‘til you made it, or if, at some point, you were bound to be exposed as the failure you really were.
A young boy’s laughter streamed in the window they’d cracked open to prevent the room from feeling like a sauna. There was a playground across the street from her building. The boy was on the swings, babbling, then squealing each time his mother gave him another push into the sky.
Heat behind Christianne’s eyes threatened to summon tears, but she told herself—again—that it was just a dresser and it was fine. Not like she was going to be getting dressed with the door open anyway.
Christianne still faced the window, but her sister could always sense when something was off. “When did you realize you weren’t going to be what you wanted to be when you grew up?”
“You mean I’m not going to be a ballerina who lives on the moon? Who says?” Maria countered.
Christianne turned around. “I mean it. I didn’t dream of spreadsheets and pencil skirts when I was little, not even when I was in high school or most of college.”
“God is full of surprises.”
Christianne searched for a way to say what she meant that wouldn’t sound like a child whining. But any way she cut it, she felt juvenile, young, small.
“What do you think you want now?” Maria asked.
“I don’t know,” Christianne said. “Some marker that I’m on the right path.”
“Hand me a blazer,” Maria said.
“Hand you a what?”
“A blazer. Whichever one fits you the best.”
Christianne reached into her closet and rustled off the bag from the dry cleaners. This one was deep blue, almost purple, and not only fit like it was made for her, but also made her eyes pop. Maria wriggled out of her sweatshirt and shrugged the blazer on over her tank top.
“Well?” Maria asked.
“It doesn’t fit you. None of my clothes fits you. And ugh, you’re sweaty. Unless you want to make a stop at the cleaners on your way home, can we be done with this?” Christianne said.
“In a second.” Maria spun around slowly, raising her arms to a T. Finally she faced Christianne again. “You’re right. It doesn’t fit me. And I couldn’t have picked it out for you if I tried. Or even if I did, I couldn’t have had it tailored unless you were in it.”
Christianne took the blazer back and hung it up again, then looked back out the window. The mom was lifting the boy out of the swing and buckling him into a stroller full of blankets. “Do you miss being little sometimes?”
“I guess so. It would be nice to take more naps.”
“I mean the freedom, the lack of responsibility,” Christianne said.
“I don’t know. I mean, what would it all lead to? I don’t think I could have stayed a kid forever.”
“But we were happy kids,” Christianne said.
“Girl, happiness isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
Christianne just barely shook her head, trying to understand. Her sister wasn’t happy?
“I’m not unhappy,” Maria said, reading her mind. “I’m just saying that’s not really the goal for me anymore.”
“What is?” Christianne asked.
Maria’s eyes shone. “Finding the blazer that fits.”
Lindsay Schlegel is a daughter of God, wife, mother, and believer in the life-giving power of words. She’s the author of Don’t Forget to Say Thank You: And Other Parenting Lessons That Brought Me Closer to God and the host of the weekly podcast, Quote Me. You can learn more about her work and her ministry at LindsaySchlegel.com or on Instagram, @lindsayschlegs and @quoteme_podcast.