Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Pink Suit

For those of us who fell under her spell.


"What a strange power there is in clothing." Isaac Bashevis Singer

November 1963

There was that odd thing where he seemed to tilt to one side as if to whisper something to her, as lovers often do. Her head turned, the perfect hat still in place, and she, out of instinct, leaned in as if for a kiss.

His face softened.

It took a moment for her to understand.

It was then that something--gray, dark--tumbled down the back of the limo. She pushed him away and followed after it. Held it in her hands as if it were a broken wing.

The film shows this: the agent jumped onto the 1961 Lincoln and pulled her back into the seat. Unseen are the thirty-six long-stem red roses tumbling to the floor and the agent pushing her on top of her husband and then covering them both with his own body.

Heartbeat upon heartbeat. Then silence.

"Oh, no," she whispered.

It was not a wing at all.

In the chaos of the moment, the agent focused on the suit. He knew she was crushed beneath his weight. He couldn't help that. He knew her face was pressed into her husband's. He couldn't think about that. But he could focus on the pink beneath his body.

She was so quiet. He expected her to scream, but she didn't.

Beautiful suit, he would later write in his memoirs.

Most who can recall that day in Dallas think of the film's grainy black-and-white footage. Those who were there remember the suit.

Nicole Kelby

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