Wearing the Moments - Nonfiction Short Story
I haven’t done the laundry in awhile. I’ll do the
bare necessities and not a full load. But today, today I’m
going to wash you out of my wardrobe. Stacked up with my
socks are memories and stuck on my t-shirt shoulders is your
scent. It’s time for detergent to free me from my past.
My little green dress is crumpled up in the hamper.
The one I got when I went away for two weeks and you missed
me. The one you wanted me to wear because you said sounded
erotic. The one I didn’t want to wear because I don’t
normally like dresses. And I didn’t wan to wear a shirt on
top but the school made me. And I made me. And I wore it.
But you didn’t care because it was over. But I didn’t know
it because you didn’t tell me.
There are grass stains on my white tank top from
when you kept putting weeds on me playfully and denying it
at the play. I didn’t know it then either. I thought we were
okay, like when I wore that same tank top with those green
pants. When we saw the bad movie and you didn’t try to
distract me much. And I wish you had because the theatre
was cold and the movie was stupid. And you thought you were
pressuring me just the same. And you weren’t, you were
When you did pressure me I was wearing that old
shirt. You asked if it was new because I rarely wear it.
I've had that shirt since third grade when I had a crush on
you. I would try and look nice for you then too. I’d wash my
hair in ice-water to make it shine and then you’d be out
sick and then I’d be sick the next day because putting cold
water on your head isn’t healthy. Now all I do is wear short
skirts and too tight pig tails. You still don’t notice.
People tell me I look cute and you look through me. You
seemed to like that shirt though, despite the fact I doubt
you knew what it said in mirror scrawl. That's the night you
got your way. That’s the last time you called me. That’s
when it was over. But I didn’t know it yet.
I knew it the night I was wearing green pants. I
wore the black skirt during the day. The black slip skirt I
bought for homecoming last year thinking it was a normal
skirt. You wore all black too, going along with the plan of
being gothic. And you gave me a white corsage that meant
nothing because we weren’t really dates. And you didn’t pin
it on me because you were scared of getting too close. We
were just friends and that's all we wanted then. All you
When I got home from school that day I changed from
the black skirt into the green pants. And then you told me
and my fears were confirmed and I was devastated.
Heartbroken. I hadn’t known but I had been paranoid. When I
was paranoid I wore the black and red baseball top and my
old jncos. The outfit I wore on our first date. You brought
me a chocolate bar of which I have kept the wrapper. And we
made fun of the movie and its stereotypes and had a good
time and you taught me how to kiss. And I doubt I was any
good but you kept trying and I kept smiling because I was
happy. And after the movie we sat under the streetlight and
later you told me that I had looked beautiful. It’s also the
outfit you saw me in before everything, before last year
swallowed us whole, before the summer when we were us. You
didn’t matter to me yet, but I still remember the first time
we said hi in the hallway.
I remember when it first mattered. When we made
plans. When we weren’t a we but were going to be. And
everyone thought we looked cute and took our picture. I have
a photograph where my hair is tied up and I’m wearing the
soft blue pants that I have to wash inside out and the light
blue shirt with a Doozer decal. That outfit is fresh in my
hamper, I wore it not long ago along with the first date
shirt the day before. I wore them purposely when I was
trying to remind you. Remind you of when I knew you wanted
me. Because I was paranoid because you hadn’t told me. I
knew something was wrong and you didn’t acknowledge it. I
asked and you said we were okay. You lied.
You probably don’t remember my wardrobe, but I
remember your clothing. Like the Dead Kennedys shirt you
wore at the concert we didn’t think I could go to. I
remember how last minute my mother said yes. How I did my
makeup in the bathroom of a record store. How I begged my
mother to find and bring me a certain shirt from my closet
so I wouldn’t smell of apple juice after a long day working
at the preschool. I remember how I wanted to look nice when
I saw you. And I looked for you and kept seeing people in
that shirt. It’s cute, you had thought you’d be original. I
remember your look of surprise and happiness when you saw
me. I remember how you kissed my head gently when you left.
I remember how a month later you seemed to take a step back
when I hugged you goodbye at the play. And how the day I
wore the black skirt it took effort to get you to touch me.
And now I’m doing the wash. Now my shirt shoulders won’t
keep your smell after leaning my head against your chest.
Now I’ll forget how I looked and when I wore things. Going
through this overflowing hamper I want to pick up the past
and put it on. Relive everything and make it the present.
Maybe the detergent won’t touch the mental photographs.
Maybe in the future I’ll get another chance to walk through
my closet with you in mind. No matter what happens thought,
it’s about time I did the laundry, I’ve clung to my clothes
for too long.