For the longest time she was looking for the coat. She learned about it first as a child. “When you’re older,” her mother said, “You’ll find your coat, it’s unique, yours alone. Look carefully because it could be anywhere. When you find it don’t let it go, it will be your way.”
She looked for the coat diligently. Throughout her teenage years she watched as others found their coats, their ways to be. She saw girls grabbing at velvets and brocade, striding out in confidence. She envied the rich colours; ruby red, emerald green, shameless purple. One day, she thought, mine will be there one day, and then I’ll know and I’ll finally be.
Years passed, she searched and searched; among thrift stores, in the high streets, rummaging through jumble sales tables, searching catalogues and in pattern files. Still no coat.
She found some, yes, very beautiful in vibrant, gorgeous fabrics. She even tried them, for a while. But they were too tight, or the fabric irritated, one even choked her when she did up the top button and she discarded it quickly.
After a while she gave up, she had searched for so long. She still envied others their coats, still admired them from afar, but knew hers was just a dream. She returned to the generic mac of her youth and her step lost its spring.
And then came the rain. It rained for weeks. After one particularly bad shower she staggered into the house and began peeling off her layers. She set aside the dull, damp mac, she peeled off her jeans and her sweater, removed her sodden, squelchy shoes and socks. She brushed her fingers over her damp skin. And gasped.
Her coat. Soft and supple. Protecting her daily from cold and damp. Fitting her perfectly. She flexed her arms and legs, stretched up and outwards, beginning an awkward dance of celebration as she realised the gift. After decades of searching, finding the journey’s end closer than imagining. Unique. Priceless. Her own skin.