She’s been wearing me for five years now. I’ve watched so many people come and go; she can’t seem to make up her mind. How she has changed! And yet stayed so very much the same.
I think I am her favorite, though I am plain and not particularly stylish and in some cases, like in the rain, not very functional. I absorb everything, including all those drinks and sauces she spills. More ranch dressing, really? But I fit length-wise and that’s all that matters to her.
I have seen the most beautiful places. France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Amsterdam, New York, Seattle, San Francisco – the Golden Gate Bridge really is as spectacular as the photos. One time she took me to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo where she sat on the steps with her friends and drank cheap champagne over the rooftops of Florence. The sunset made the sky all pink and orange. She made me really love sunsets. She would always talk about how beautiful it was, the time of day when time slows, when the sky changes its mind and you can love without judgment in the space between want and loss.
And the Eiffel Tower! How magnificent. At night it sparkles and glitters. We would go there all the time. Once, alone, in the middle of the night, she walked under the big beams on the way home and I thought she was crying but when I looked up at her she was smiling maniacally.
There were a lot of nights in Paris. When her old lover came to visit for Thanksgiving, she took him to the tower to picnic and I kept her warm. She ate a whole block of cheese nervously in the pauses, probably to keep herself from thinking too hard, because if she did she would realize that she did not love him.
I sometimes hear her talk about warmer places she’s been: Africa, Japan, Hawaii, India. Imagine, seeing the Taj Mahal! Or spreading out on the sand in Kauai. How lucky those tee-shirts are.
I’m important, I remind myself; I am hers and she is mine. What would she have done without me that winter night she was stranded in Barcelona? Or when the fog would roll over the San Francisco hills? The many times she’s needed me, I’ve been happy to wrap around her torso and arms, happy to live my destiny as she lives hers.
Still, she could take better care of me. I’ve been washed three times, maybe. She thinks the stains don’t accumulate, that they disappear eventually. How I’d love to be new again, and the dryer, so terrifyingly spectacular! But that’s where I lost a button, and instead of replacing it she just folds the flap over to cover the hole. It’s true what they say – indifference is paralyzing. Do people say that?
Things started to turn worse. She’d stash me in the corner of bars while she danced, keep me in her boyfriend’s car “just in case,” forget me on the couch, crinkled and tired. I was sad because I didn’t get to see all the things that she saw, but mostly because I thought she loved me less.
And then one August afternoon she stuffed me in a bag and when I awoke we were at the Goodwill on Clayton Road. Somebody pierced me with a price tag and I never saw her again.
Months later a teenage girl convinced her mom to buy me – because she’d grow into me and that, after all, she needed a black coat and she promised to fix my button and I was only five dollars. So they took me to their house and the girl hung me on a pink plastic hanger. Where would you like to go first? I asked as she put me in the closet.
Time is lost now, and I wonder what’s happening on the other side, whispering to the others in the dark about the Louvre and Times Square and the boats on Lake Washington and imagining those tee-shirts on the beaches of paradise.