And you shall be perfect in all ways…

I find the jacket staring at me from across a crowded aisle in the afternoon hustle of the city’s most expensive departmental store. It is in brown corduroy with burnished gold buttons. Its has a smart cut and a waist hugging outline. I linger in front of it for a good 10 minutes and then finally try it on. “Don’t look at yourself in the mirror, you are going to end up buying it”, the best friend pleads. “Probably right, I don’t need a jacket with summer around the corner”, I tell her and look wistfully at the price tag. It is on a special at the moment and I would actually get 50% of the price if I bought it today. And it is summer and the streets are ablaze with orange sunshine and that jacket would probably be relegated to the wardrobe till the next winter breeze makes it rounds. So I put it back and walk away from it giving it one last glance. One hour of shopping, a two hour soul to soul chat over laksa and two strong coffees later, it feels like the jacket is still on my shoulders. As if on cue the sunshine falls away and a cold southern breeze chases the sunshine away from the mall.  We both find ourselves back in the store in front of the jacket. I wear it again and it feels right. “The price”, she says as she waves the price tag in front of me. “You know what”, I tell her, “I am going to buy it. I am going to wait for the winter if that is what it takes”. This jacket with its burnished buttons is pushing me towards the counter. As I am about to pay for it, my friend notices that one of the buttons is missing. It is like the button has disappeared, it has vamoosed leaving a space in its wake. “Do you still want to buy it?”, the sales lady asks me. She looks around to see if she can find a replacement button or if any extras came with the jacket but she finds nothing.  

In that split second, I know that the idea of perfection is defined by want more than anything else. And so I ask her to go ahead and pack it. The missing button doesn’t matter to me, I will just have to work around it. I like what is present more than what is absent. That will do for now. As she folds it up, she stops and feels the pockets and looks up at me triumphantly…for wedged in a corner of the right pocket is the missing button, away from its place but still very much around. “It is your lucky day”, she exclaims as she carefully packs the button for me. “You can sew it on tonight and the jacket will be perfect”, she says. I don’t think I will sew the button back on. It will stay in the side pocket as a reminder of that fact that most deals when they present themselves to you are package deals and are far less than perfect. If you think about it, it is all about taking a chance isn’t it? The button will stay unattached as a lesson that for the most part what is handed to us is often a work in progress, not exactly where you wanted something to be. And then maybe, just maybe, you will give the odds a go, take a chance and perhaps, just perhaps the odds will defy themselves.  

Oh the endless possibilities of believing in something, isn’t that how a dream is born? 


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. asuph
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 06:53:10


    > the idea of perfection is defined by want more than anything else

    Hmmm. This completely knocked me. What do you call a perfectionist who wants imperfection? Is imperfection her idea of perfection?

    This is beautifully written as always. Only you could weave a philosophy out of a button that you won’t sew back. Quite profound…

    But when’s the next masterpiece coming? I am in desparate need for inspiration.



  2. IW
    Apr 20, 2007 @ 15:01:26

    >> But when’s the next masterpiece coming? I am in desparate need for inspiration.

    wonder what would satisfy this asuph fella. For me this post of yours is a mini masterpiece in itself. Btw, you mentioned eating Laksa ! Were you shopping in Sg’pore by any chance ?


  3. enig
    Apr 27, 2007 @ 15:28:24

    hehehheheh….completely empathize with the shopping spirit! Some tidbits from my side which I’m compelled to tell u as I feel u’ll understand!!

    1) I lost the belt on my favorite fall jacket ever!! I’ve spent several days searching for it, blamed everyone in my life for the lost belt..but it’s still to be found :D:D
    2) I bought a trouser over the wkend with a missing button too, after ruminating over it for hours..and then thinking I’ll probably never get the same deal again and the fact that trouser looked oh-so-perfect , the right color (one that I always wanted) and the right size (okay, I lied…it’s a bit tight, but I’ll fit into it nevertheless!!)



  4. Scarlett
    May 03, 2007 @ 06:48:19


    As long as we want anything, something, with a passion, we cannot be away from the concept of perfection. Perfection is not a state, I dont think, it is a passion of want.

    Am glad you liked the write up 🙂 I am eagerly waiting for the next “masterpiece” myself. If you see some inspiration, send her my way.

    You are ever so nice 😀 Nope I wasnt in Singland, I was in good ol Adelaide. And a mean laksa it was too. Slurrrp. Come down here and pay me a visit, I will treat you to Laksa 😛

    Finally someone who understands that the shopping can bite you really hard. I spend hours trying on things, buy them, promptly return them the next day and buy what I originally intended to buy. Someday I will learn. Good luck with the belt and the trousers. I know the feeling of waiting for perfect costumes and accessories and the giddy feeling of finding them.



  5. bilbo
    May 16, 2007 @ 10:48:04

    Am in the process of putting together a western formal outfit, after years of being a lab rat. Giddy isn’t what I feel. Nausea is more close to it since I am not really much of a shopper. I’d rather get a root canal.


  6. scarlettletters
    May 22, 2007 @ 03:54:13

    Ha ha Billy. I think I will pass the root canal, thank you kindly.
    Okay I confess, sometimes shopping leaves me stressed and worn out. But it is a pain I bravely suffer :-P\
    There I have said it now.



  7. Trackback: Linked to a Tag.. « The Heart Monologues

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