Friday, November 17, 2006

The love shirt

Bardiac had a nice description today of a shirt that eases her way through a bad day, partly because it's thick and soft and partly because it fits better than it used to. This is not a small thing in my opinion, and it reminded me of a similar shirt I used to own - or more precisely, of which I was in temporary custody.

Many years ago, my old friend RocketBoy gave me several of his old shirts. There's nothing better than big old shirts from guys you love - worn soft, full of good memories, and big enough to wrap yourself in on cold or scary days. One of them, he told me, was special. Not because of its shape or design - it was just a nicely cut, white cotton long-sleeved shirt - but because it had a long history. I don't even remember the origins of the story, but the shirt came to be in the possession of his girlfriend's father, who gave it to his daughter when she went off to college because she had always loved to steal it from his closet. She wore it to comfort her during the difficult days of adjusting to the new world of college, but when she felt strong and confident, she passed it on to RocketBoy. RocketBoy wore it during some difficult times of his own, but when he figured out a new direction for his life, he gave the shirt to me. And with it he gave me these instructions: Wear it for a while, and then give it to someone you love.

By this time it was a bit frayed at the cuffs, but still soft and strong and a lovely reminder of my friend's support. I confess that I kept hold of it for several years, wearing it as I ended an ugly relationship and worked my way through the complicated years of grad school. After I married and landed my first job, I decided it was time, and I gave the shirt to Musical Friend in Louisiana. I haven't been in touch with him for a while, so I'm not sure how his life is going. But the nice thing about the shirt is that you win either way. If life is rough, you have the comfort of its warmth around your shoulders and the love of all the people that have passed it on to you... or if you're back on top of things, you can give that strength and love to someone else in turn, and smile when you think of them wearing it.

No comments:

Post a Comment