Friday, October 26, 2007

Challenged

In response to a challenge issued by Amy, I'm supposed to be talking about the one item of clothing I will never get rid of.

In truth, I have a whole drawer full of such clothes. I call it my museum drawer, and in it are concert t-shirts, the first present The Boy ever gave me (an embroidered button-down shirt), garments that I wore for certain significant events in my life, and things that I just loved to death, but can no longer wear in public (like my high school field hockey sweatshirt).

At the bottom of that drawer sits a scrap of light-washed denim. They're a pair of size 7 Sam & Libby button-fly jeans shorts that I bought the summer before I left for college, and I will probably own them until the day I die, even though I will never, ever wear them again.

Outwardly, these shorts are nothing special. But oh, they represented so much to me back then! For one thing, Sam & Libby was a brand I coveted as a teenager. In those days, in my hyper-preppy hometown, Sam & Libby ballet flats were the only shoe every girl had to have. Plus, Sassy magazine, my bible, had given the brand its endorsement. Of course, my parents being who they were, I was not likely to convince them to buy me a pair. I did finally find some on sale at an outlet, probably about four months after they'd started going out of style. And while they were indeed ballet flats, the reason they were at the outlet is because they were decorated with a large, fugly, toe-bow. Of course, I bought them, and wore them faithfully, despite my nagging feeling that they weren't quite Right. By the time that summer before college rolled around, I was still enamored enough of the brand to be excited when I saw they had a new clothing line.

That summer, I was also still drunk with my newly-discovered power of earning my own money. True, it was my third summer working, but I'd been trained to save most of what I earned, because I'd need it to pay for college. So the idea of buying something I wanted just because I wanted it, and with my own money, was still intoxicating. I think I remember every single thing I bought those first few summers (including a pair of flowered shortalls that are really better forgotten).

So I bought the shorts. And there was just something about them -- when I wore those shorts, I felt great. I was skinny and cute and increasingly independent and just about to escape my home and my parents for the freedom of college. Everything bad in my life was soon to be behind me, and all I saw ahead was possibility and hope.

I wore those shorts the day I left for college, and pretty often in the next few weeks. I got to school, I met my (funny, kind and friendly) roommate, I got a job, and then another. I was accepted into the school's glee club. I made friends and hung out and laughed and played my music too loud and danced and got asked out by a boy. It was all so amazing and delicious and fun and, really, one of the happiest times of my entire life. And even though the weather soon turned and I never wore those shorts again (they passed out of style and I passed out of fitting into them), I could never bring myself to let them go. Just seeing them brings back all of the amazing feeling of those few months. Every so often I pull them out, marvel at their tininess, and remember what it was like to be that carefree.

3 comments:

zdoodlebub said...

I know how you feel. Keep them shorts forever!

Joy said...

Long live the shorts!

meh said...

WOW do you have any idea the longing, the memories, the happiness and sadness you can generate when you write like this? One post about shorts and I am distracted for the rest of the day. Productivity shot to he**. Longing for Fairdale Country club (did they still call it that when you went, oh young friend of mine?), for the Jams that are still in my drawer, for the red soccer SWSH that I will NEVER throw away no matter what...you are so incredibly awesome. You rock. Truly.