This word makes me think of romance and glamour: A dinner in a fancy restaurant, with diamonds sparkling in the shimmering candlelight. A bride wearing a shimmery veil. Evenings spent in front a flickering fire. Lying on a warm beach near the blue shimmery water.
I write about romance and glamour in the same way I would write about quantum physics. To me, they’re theoretical concepts, things of which I have little direct experience.
The only time I see candlelight is when the power goes out. I have no diamonds (we were both broke undergrads when we decided to get married, so I have a thin gold wedding band, the cheapest the jewelry store had). I wore a cotton dress bought three days before my wedding (and I would have worn my jeans if I could have gotten away with it)—no shimmery fabric or veil. The chimney hasn’t been cleaned in years, so we have no fires casting their shimmering light in our living room. And at this time of year the only shimmery water I see is a puddle with an oil slick in it.
I didn’t write this improg yesterday morning because, moments after pulling the word out of Hayley’s envelope, I noticed that one of the cats had thrown up on the stair rail, over the edge of the stair rail, and into the basket of library books. As I cleaned each book page by page—I have been the recipient of gross surprises in library books and I didn’t want anyone else to have that traumatic experience—I thought about this romantic and glamorous word and I had to laugh. There is no shimmer in my life.
This doesn’t mean that my life isn’t filled with light. The flash of coins on hip scarves at my dance class. The stage lights at my kids’ performances. The soft light that I’ve spent countless hours reading to them by. The nightlight I leave on to guide sleepy feet to the bathroom. The light of my computer screen, which connects me to far-away family and friends. The brilliant sunshine which, when it finally breaks through the clouds, turns this grey, gloomy city into one of the most beautiful in the world.
My life is full of light—it’s just not the shimmery kind. And that's fine with me.