She couldn’t understand why I would keep such a rag. Why, after close to two hours of thinning my possessions, parting ways with many things, even things that seemed somewhat practical, I would fight tooth and nail to keep a tattered, faded, Kleenex thin t-shirt in my good clothes pile.
We were moving in together, both silently hoping this move would signify the beginning of a new chapter in both our lives. She had recently moved halfway across the country, leaving behind over a decade’s worth of accumulated possessions. I was only moving a few blocks down the street but felt the distance significant. Parting ways with so many memories is a difficult task but one that we all must endure at some point.
For the past decade or more I had lugged boxes of cassette tapes, fanzines, magazines, clothes I never wore, and books I’d never read from apartment to apartment simply because they were things I owned. They each had a special memory attached to them and represented a period of my life – this was my legacy, or so I thought.
After coming to terms with the complete impracticality of close to half these boxes of junk with their cardboard worn from so many moves and metres of packing tape applied and removed, I knew things would be ok. I was entering a new stage in my life. I was growing up a little, something I’d been resisting for far too long.
I had finally decided I could live happily without 236 unlabeled cassettes, four pairs of jeans full of holes, and more than half of the t-shirts I’d been wearing for more years than I’d like to admit, all but one that is.
A once black t-shirt faded now by years of wear and tear. Its front facing side carried an image synonymous with my growth and interest in many forms of music, a few good memories from my youth and in many ways, the person I have come to be. The reverse side marked with a significant date in my life. The end of my school years and the beginning of my adulthood.
I can still remember every detail of the night I purchased this shirt. It was in many ways, a life changing experience and I’d be damned if I was going to let anyone come between me and this cherished piece of my personal history.
We argued over its importance. In many ways, it was more important to me than the relationship I was about to begin. I suppose the fact that I had to defend something that means so much to me should have be seen as an indication of things to come.
Eighteen months later our relationship had come to an end. The day she left, I put on the t-shirt I had fought to save nearly two years earlier. It was as comfortable as I remembered. It’s good to know there are some friends you can always rely on.