Author’s Note: This was written the summer after Ben and I started dating and we were apart for four months, him here in Indiana and me with my family in the Cayman Islands.
It’s just an old sweatshirt, red and well worn, emblazoned with his alma mater. It fits him and swallows me whole but is always comfortable. Just a sweatshirt. There’s nothing really special about it. Wait! That’s a lie. It’s his. I wonder if he realizes, if he knows…?
“Take it with you so you’ll have something of me this summer,” he said, after I had already informed him of my intention to do so.
I hate summers. I hate being away, being apart.
I wonder if he has any idea of how many kisses are being held for him by that shirt? I’ve lost count myself, but it’s at least four a day. At least! My day begins and ends with kissing that shirt.
I have slept with it each and every night, beside me in the bed. A poor substitute for the man I miss. Its sleeve lies thrown across my tummy, just as if he held me while I slept. Every night, without fail. I wonder if he could imagine me glaring around my room angrily the day I came home to find that the shirt had been moved from my bed to my rocking chair?
I wonder, does he have any concept of how many tears lay dried upon that shirt’s sleeves, shoulders, and flaking white lettering? How many nights it’s heard me sob for God to let him know how much I miss him. How much I love him.
Sometimes, I wonder…can he have any idea how comforting it is to wrap him around me, even though the shirt stopped smelling solely of him weeks ago? I wonder if he could envision my joy at burying my nose in it and smelling his scent layered beneath mine?
This sweatshirt has become the dowry box for my hugs, its battered shape cuddled with when I become lonely or feel sad. If this old shirt could talk, it could tell him so many secrets and tales of my days without him. This sweatshirt could tell him, ever so much more eloquently than I, just how much I love, adore, and cherish him.
But, no. It will never talk. Never tell those secrets. It is just an old, red sweatshirt after all. But it’s his.