Saturday, November 16, 2013

Short Story

Second Hand
Nov 16, 2013

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 really matters to her.

I have seen the most beautiful places. France, Italy, Spain, Amsterdam, New York, Seattle, San Francisco – the Golden Gate Bridge really is as spectacular as the photos. The many times when she’s needed me, I’ve been happy to wrap around her torso and arms, happy to live my destiny as she lives hers.

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.

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 think she was crying but when I looked up at her she was laughing.

There were a lot of nights in Paris. When her old lover came to visit for Thanksgiving, she took him to the tower to sit and drink wine. I kept her warm. She ate a whole block of cheese nervously, probably to keep herself from thinking too hard, because if she did she would realize that she did not love him and never would.

I sometimes heard her talk about warm 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. What would she have done that winter night she was stranded in Barcelona? But still, she could take better care of me. Like the button on my sleeve that fell off two years ago on an airplane. Instead of replacing it she just folds the flap over the hole.

And does she think these stains don’t accumulate? I’ve been washed three times, maybe. How I’d love to be new again, and the dyer, so terrifyingly spectacular. I’m important, I remind myself; I am hers and she is mine.

Then things took a turn. She’d stash me in the corner of bars while she danced, keep me in her boyfriend’s car “just in case,” leave me on the couch crinkled and forgotten. I was sad because I didn’t get to see the things that she saw, but mostly because I think she loved me less.

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.

I’ve lost track of time now, wondering what’s happening out there and whispering to the others in the dark about the Louvre and Times Square and thinking about those tee-shirts on the beaches in paradise.