For a while, she would come, and I would talk with her.
I bought some bowling shirts.
I know, I know my love, you hate them, and the whole lower-middle class New York Matt Dillon look it gives, but you see, I can’t wear my Polo shirts anymore.
No my dear, I don’t know why I can’t wear them. The button-down persona I have been for thirteen years doesn’t fit my skin anymore. I don’t know if it is because you gave them to me, or if the polo shirt and jeans guy just isn’t me anymore. But the bowling shirts are silk, if that’s any consolation. No? I am sorry my dear, but I really can’t bear them. Please understand.
I tried baby, really. I tried to iron them, to put them on, and wear them as I have done every day of our life together. I found that each of my shirts bore the stamp of your giving; each was a well-remembered gift for one occasion or another. A birthday, an anniversary, or just a thank you for something unspoken between us, thirteen years of you giving me shirts for one reason or another. In a way, the myriad of shirts, all bearing the mallet-wielding pony, made me yours. I do not know when that came about. I wore them before us, and fully expected to wear them now as well. But I cannot bear the feel of them on my skin; even seeing them arrayed on hangers in our closet causes me pain.
Perhaps, I am treating them as a memorial to a time when it was you and me; the shirts as we, that is no longer. I won’t throw them out, or give them away, maybe one day, I can wear them again. One day, maybe I can touch them or look at them without tears coming to my eyes, and a pit opening before me.
I do not really know.
I know that, for now, my bowling shirts fit.