The day it arrived, I wore it to work, despite not being the most office-appropriate thing I've ever put on. I paired it with leather leggings and big stompy boots for drinks with good friends. I threw it on over swimsuits after surfing, kayaking and swimming on holidays and wore it on chillier evenings as my family and I sat outside eating dinner overlooking the bay.
And I was wearing it for our last day of holidays when I went to the spa and then hopped in the car for the long drive home. I was wearing it when we got back to the house and I burst into tears upon sight of our dog. Our baby, who we had since I was eleven years old, had lost so much weight in a week that it was grotesque, her eyes were out of focus and she was staggering. We had noticed that old age had been beginning to really hit her for weeks and months beforehand and our cousin who was watching her had said she wasn't drinking very much but this was beyond imagining.
I was wearing the hoodie when we rushed her into the vet, when they put her on a drip and we had to say goodbye to leave her overnight. I was wearing it when my mother told me to be hopeful, that it would be okay. I was wearing it when my father and sister called my brother and I outside the next day and said the treatment wasn't working as well as the vet had hoped and Belle was most likely not going to survive. I was wearing it when we came in to see her and say goodbye. I was wearing it when she was put down and my brother and I lay on the floor next to her and wailed. I was wearing it as she closed her eyes.
And now I don't know if I'll ever be able to wear it again.
I love it so much that I hope I will but garments are more than things we just put on our bodies. They hold memories in a vivid, visceral, physical way that is often hard to move past. Putting them on can feel like slipping back into that moment and that person you used to be. And it can be incredibly painful to do so, even if wounds have long healed and life has long moved on.
I have never again worn the leather skirt I had on when my heart was first broken, despite it being its first outing. The dress I wore to a childhood friend's father's funeral hangs in my wardrobe and, as cute as it is, all I see when I look at it is his face struggling to be brave. To wear it now would seem macabre in some way, or disrespectful, perhaps? I simply cannot separate it from the last time that I wore it and feel that I would spend the entire time it was on my body being utterly aware of that last time.
Similarly, but in a slightly different vein, there are band tees that I have from my teenage years that I cannot throw away but also cannot wear again. I still like the bands and some of the t-shirts are really cool but when I have attempted wearing them in the recent past, it felt too much like being that awkward teen that I have empathy towards, and affection for, but would never wish to go back to being.
Maybe there are enough good memories made in my Vetements hoodie - of long tiring days of fun by the sea, bonding with friends I don't get to see enough and being around my loved ones - that they will counteract the bad. But, even if this is not the case, it is now a garment imbued with some of both the worst and best moments of my life.
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