It was only a few short months ago that I saw this photo for the very first time. I stared at it for a long time silently studying it.
Memories from my childhood began making their way forward. Children wrinkling their faces and asking in a disapproving tone, “Why do you always wear dresses?”
Teachers phoning the house asking my mother why she had sent me to school in a dress, when the permission slip she had signed clearly stated that I was to wear jeans.
Girl Scout activities, gym class, summer camps… always standing out. Never fitting in.
It was hard making friends, you knew you were different. Childhood as a message believer was anything but normal. No make up, long hair, and a long baggy dress that more than likely I could have shared with a twin. There were a lot of sideways glances. When I was in school, jean skirts were a rarity so you ended up with a gathered printed skirt that your mother would have worn.
All those memories, the hurtful words, looks, and awkward feelings flooded their way to the surface and smacked me right in the face.
There was the prophet himself in shorts.
I stared at it, forcing back tears. Remembering each and every time my dress prevented me from participating in one thing or another. The memories and emotions surprised me, those were things from so long ago.
Then reason kicked in. I had missed something somewhere. A quick Google search brought me to Rebekah Smith’s slide show on YouTube assuring me it was only a joke for the kids. Everyone was laughing, slowly my emotions deflated and I felt ashamed of myself for feeling the way I had. I pushed the photo out of my mind and set to making dinner.
Not too many weeks ago, this very same photo made its way back into my news-feed. Once again I stared at it, remembering.
Studying the detail again my eyes rested on his jacket. A tailored safari jacket, linen probably. I looked for pockets, buttons, and wrinkles. My eyes dropped to his white socks, onto his darkly colored shoes, then slowly back up to the shorts. White shorts, probably linen too.
They matched… so well. A regular little safari suit.
Just his size.
In the middle of the Savanna.
Reality oozed it’s way back forcing me to study the surroundings. Mud had made its way up the white wall of the hut. Grass covered the round pointed roof. Dirt paths wound around the buildings. Shadows suggested a nice warm sun was shining down.
Again, my eyes stared back at the shorts, the skin was dark from shadow, But it was not the stark white skin you would see if my husband put on shorts.
I paused to carefully think about what I saw. Where does one acquire a pair of shorts on the African Savanna?
Generally, when on a trip of any sort you have just exactly what you carefully planned and packed in your suitcase to take with you. Myself, I didn’t own a pair of shorts to have in my suitcase, and yet, he did.
This was not just any pair of shorts, but a suit and quite the typical outfit for just such an occasion.
White hat, white shirt, white socks, and…. white shorts. Precisely his size.
Those emotions attempted to rise, I paused quietening my reaction. I just shook my head, no words. All the same, that little girl was crying “that’s just not fair.”