One of my dearest friend's apartment was lost in a fire last year and as I stood on the threshold of what was left of his life, I felt more helpless than I ever had before. What could I do? I'm just one friend. I closed my eyes and made a wish: if only I had a superpower.
And it was then that Renaissance Girl was born.
Stronger than an executive who could throw thousands of dollars around with the waggle of a pen, I power-walked uptown about five blocks to a 99 cent store to purchase ten large plastic/fabric zipper plaid bags with handles for $1.99 each (to store any salvagables) and a small spiral notebook with a package of five ballpoint pens (lists for the insurance company).
Then it was on to Sally. We had thirty minutes before we had to be back at work and faster than a New York City taxi I ran to my "second closet" to purchase what would serve as my friend's entire wardrobe until he could even determine if he had any clothes left besides those he was wearing that day. This was a tall order as my friend is a stylish gay urbanite and really only steps out of the door in things that are the latest in fashion, but able to spot lower rise pants and the cute Western shirts at a glance, I knew I had been preparing for this moment for my entire life.
I headed first for the men's shirt aisle and kept his size always in the forefront of my mind. Zap! I knew that comfort and washability were going to factor in heavily in the next couple weeks of his life. I grabbed a long sleeved Tee in a faded maroon and an oversized fleece in grey (the temperature in his now windowless apartment was sub zero). Pow! Then it was on to the slacks rack where I found some khakis (flat front, of course) and even some Lucky brand Jeans (from two seasons ago, but hey! Desperate times call for desperate measures...). Kaboom! Thirty dollars and fifty seven cents later, I ran back to meet him at his new storage locker that his amazing boyfriend was helping him open (a fellow superhero!) and we made it back to rehearsal just in time.
Three days later, though, there did come a moment of reckoning when I realized as we stood hovering over the hole that was once his floor, sifting through the blackened wreckage that had remnants of what all of a sudden felt like MY memoirs, MY belongings, that I realized I could go no further. I was not really a super hero after all and he had to go on without me.
I am happy to report that my friend has his life back together as much as can be expected. He has a fabulous new apartment in the same neighborhood and incredibly, much of his belongings were salvaged after all. I guess in the end, if we have our health, our wits, and our friends, we are trully rich after all, superpowers or no.