I don't mean like...you bought it at the thrift store and it comes with other people's memories. I mean your own memories. You know, when an outfit reminds you of something (or someone) specific. I remember in 8th grade, when I went to see a movie with some girl friends, and one of them secretly told the boy she was "going out with" to meet us there. They sat in a different row on the other side of the theatre, so all efforts to spy on them proved fruitless. But I do remember after the movie, when she filled the rest of us in (with wide, horrified eyes), about just exactly how disgusting french kissing was.
She was wearing a pink shirt that day with a gold crown on it. She stuffed it in the back of the bottom drawer of her dresser and didn't touch it ever again.
Today I pulled on a yellow shirt I almost never wear anymore.
I could easily spend a couple hours browsing slowly through each item in my closet, and be able to remember important memories attached to a lot of it. The yellow shirt is one of them. I got it in college, because I liked the way it fit me, when I was finally starting to think about minor details like "actually fits me" when it came to buying clothing. (I was a baggy, slouchy chump for most years before that.) I liked the particular shade of pale-ish yellow because it made my olive-ish, half-Italian skin look optimally tan. I always liked the way I felt in this shirt. It reminded me of sun, and summer, and Arizona, home.
Once there was a boy, a boy-who-was-just-a-friend, but I had thought long and hard about somehow making him more-than-a-friend. You know when you're toeing that line, when there's been all that silent and sometimes not-so-silent buildup and tension and waffling and hinting and so on and so forth, and it all kind of comes to a head and you can just feel it. You can just feel it and know that something is about to overflow, someone is about to burst, and something is about to happen. And it's like the sun is out, and everything looks bright and brave, and you're feeling deliciously reckless and like you have nothing to lose in the entire world and everything to gain, and your heart is throbbing every other beat with a resounding "why" and "not," "why" and "not."
I wore the yellow shirt that day.
And today when I wore it, I remembered that day. And I remembered that boy. And it made me smile, because I had almost forgotten about that day and that boy entirely. But he seemed so, SO important then, which is the funny thing. It's funny how a few years can make important seem not-important, and Someone a not-someone. And emotions that feel like they're going to tear you apart in five directions if you don't get them off your chest can somehow, eventually, be nothing but an almost-forgotten yellow shirt in the back of a closet, and a passing smile, and a reminder that wounds do heal, scars do fade, hearts do change and it all just somehow tucks itself away, eventually.
So today the yellow shirt feels like hope.
Hope that the bigger memories and harder hurdles will also, eventually, find their way to the back of my closet, or out of my life altogether. And that my own words from a few years back will someday work themselves out to be true for the situations I really need them to be come.on.finally be true for: that one day, my hands won't be tied, and you will be just a scar, that i can run my thumbs over, and think, "this doesn't hurt me anymore."