7/20/16 – Clothes & Memory
I still live in my childhood home and I’m not moving anytime soon. The comfort of staying in the same place has allowed for a collection of too much clutter. The overabundance of items has me feeling (unable to function) so I mop and vacuum up the dust that has collected around each pile of stuff and then start in on sorting.
I begin with the dresser next to my bed. It’s white with pink accents and covered with a thousand different kinds of stickers: dinosaur valentines, scratch-and-sniff that have lost their scent, fuzzy felines, Pokémon (of course!), even holographic tags from clothing brands. My dad made this dresser, and the stickers house a million different memories. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get rid of it.
I begin with my t-shirt drawer, overcrowded and spilling out so I can no longer fully close it. I put 9 shirts in the giveaway pile and another 7 in the probably pile. When I try them on that probably changes over to a more uncertain maybe. Perhaps one day I’ll go back to a college football game and want to fit in with my burnt orange. This is despite the fact that I maybe went to 3 games the entire time I was in college, and I didn’t enjoy a single one. Why is it so hard to let go of things?
In my closet is another dresser, newer, and made by my uncle. Its unfinished faces still the natural color of the wood. I go straight for the bottom drawer, which I recently rediscovered houses old band tees and sweatshirts from my ex. I take them all out in a show that I’ll finally give them away. It’s just an act, I already know I’m not going to get rid of them, still attached to a memory I can’t bear to part with.
I don’t wear them anymore. I’m not sure I ever really did, all much bigger than my petite frame. Instead they’ve sat there for years – folded nicely so the creases seem to be permanently etched into the shirts. One by one I carefully unfold each piece of clothing and slip it over my body.
An old tour shirt has dust and a few stray strands of animal hair on it. I’m unsure whether they’re from my cat or his dog, both having long since passed. I press the shirt to my face and breathe in, imagining it still smells like him. When in all likelihood any scent that remains is just the musty smell from the inside of the drawer. I decide not to wash it just in case.
Once I’ve tried on each one I carefully refold them and put them away. Maybe in another year.
Perhaps they’ll become a relic, saved away like old trophies in a cardboard box.