An article of clothing becomes infinitely more interesting when it has a story attached to it.
This shirt, I got it from my boyfriend’s wardrobe.
My mother bought me this dress for my birthday.
I took this from my Dad’s wardrobe.
My friend loaned me this dress.
When one of these statements is thrown out in explanation, I always look at the clothing more keenly, searching for the memories written on the clothing.
When I saw you today, you looked better than you had in a while. You smiled and teased me about the guy I’m seeing and wondered when you would get to meet him. I deflected this question by asking about the hoodie you were wearing. You told me the hoodie belonged to your ex-boyfriend. I had nothing to say. I started to look at the memories of the two of you. Written on the hoodie.
I saw the two of you laughing and whispering to each other, in your happy bubble at the restaurant the day you introduced him to us, ‘your girls’.
I saw the way he gently held your hand as you cried at your grandmother’s funeral. The way your head sought his shoulder. And how he held you like you were breaking.
I saw him take care of you like none before him had. He was the man we had all dreamed about, straight out of a romance novel.
I saw the first fight. A fight you started because you wanted to create some ‘drama’.
It’s all so boring, Cleo. I need some excitement, some oomph. Some fights will bring that spark. He’s a great guy, don’t get me wrong, but where’s the fire? Where’s the passion? I need that.
So you manufactured the drama, claimed he was making eyes at me. ME!? You then had the gall to wink at me like we were in cahoots.
You don’t know this but he sought me out soon after your first fight. He apologized for making me uncomfortable. I said it was OK, that I didn’t feel uncomfortable around him and that maybe you were seeing things. He said I was nice.
After that first fight you started to ask him to jump. Each time he’d ask, how high? He bought you the phone you hold, after you whined about your phone being old and glitchy when we both knew it wasn’t.
I remember the way you held the new phone to my face. “See what Dean bought for me, see.” With little girl excitement. I swallowed my envy and gave you the response you were looking for.
Awww, he’s such a sweet guy.
In the memories written on this hoodie, I saw myself. The one that was always on the sidelines. Cheering her friend on. Advising and holding your hand. The third wheel on all your adventures.
He and I became friends, at your urging. You said you needed a spy in his camp as you could not trust any of the friends he had around him. I indulged you. Mostly because he was a nice guy.
That nice guy started coming to me every time you were having problems. I became his sounding board, his shoulder, his best friend.
The day he said to me, “I wish she was more like you,” was the day I knew something had shifted in him. You and your need for drama. You pushed him too far. He was bound to break. Break he did. In spectacular fashion. By letting his lips crash into mine.
I will spare you the excuses, I have none. I will spare you the standard response, you know it, “I didn’t mean for this to happen.” Truth is, I didn’t exactly pull away when he kissed me. I, too, was tired of the way you had treated him. You and your incessant demands had destroyed his esteem and his sense of self. I wanted to avenge him and the only way I knew how was to betray you.
In a few weeks he will meet my parents and then you will find out. You will know that the hoodie that you’re wearing rightly belongs to me.