The Shirt

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Artist: Taylor Coburn, https://www.etsy.com/shop/TaylorCoburnArt

I keep the shirt in my closet. I don’t know why I keep it in my closet. I don’t even think I’ve worn it since.

It’s not a nice shirt. To tell you the truth, it’s out of fashion. It’s old. Not as old as some of my other clothes, but it seems older. I treat it like an ancient relic.

It has a confused pattern. Like it doesn’t know what it is. It’s white, but it has some black and red stripes. The stripes are made out of blocks instead of lines. A really confused sort of pattern. Like it doesn’t know what it wants to be.

I don’t know why I keep it in my closet. I don’t even think I’ve worn it since. I should really just throw it out. I want to throw it out.

I never touch the shirt. I shift the clothes around it if I want to move it. I never touch it. I can’t remember the last time I touched it. It must have been when I last wore it. I know I never want it to touch me again. Perhaps that’s why I don’t get rid of it.

I’ve exaggerated the effects of the shirt. It doesn’t affect me that much. Most of the time, I don’t even think about it. No, I don’t even think about it unless I’m late for something and I forgot to pick out my clothes. Then I have to look in my closet. Then I have to look at the shirt. But even then, it’s only a glimpse. A flicker of something. That’s usually not enough time to make it more than a shirt. And if in that glance I make it more than a shirt, then that’s my fault. No, it’s not the shirt’s fault. It’s mine. It’s just a shirt. Nothing more. Yes, most days I can pretty much ignore the shirt. No, it doesn’t affect me that much.

I should really just throw it out. I don’t know why I keep it in my closet. I haven’t worn it since. I don’t even know why I’m talking about the shirt now. It’s just a shirt. An old shirt. A confused shirt.

I want to throw it out. I throw out other shirts. But this one I keep in my closet. I can’t throw it out because its not trash. Trash has no purpose. And if somebody saw it in the bin, they might ask me why it’s there. And I wouldn’t be able to give an answer. I don’t want to talk about the shirt. I’ve done enough talking about the shirt. And what if someone saw it and wanted to keep it? That’s not right. It’s my shirt. I wouldn’t want someone else to have it. No, I wouldn’t wish that shirt on anyone else. I have to keep the shirt.

I could bury it out of sight in the bin. But what’s the difference between burying it in the bin and burying it in my closet? I would only wonder where the shirt is now. No, I’d rather know. I’d rather know where it is. In my closet. Right in the middle of everything. This old shirt. This confused shirt. This shirt that doesn’t know what it is. This shirt that can’t be touched. This shirt that can’t be worn. This shirt that can’t be thrown out.

I hate this shirt. I haven’t worn it since. I want it gone. I want to burn it. I want the shirt to be burned.

You know, I must have worn the shirt since. How else would it have appeared in photos? I put it on. I put it on and I didn’t think about it. Can you believe it? I didn’t even think about it. I wanted it to just be a shirt. I think people even liked it. Because for them, it was just a shirt. Nothing more.

And you know, I must have touched the shirt since. How else would it have moved from my old closet, to my new one? The shirt followed me. And I helped it. I took it off one hanger. I packed it up. I carried it. I took it out of a box. And I hung it up again. I can’t remember doing it. I don’t know why I did it.

I wish I didn’t keep it in my closet. This old, confused, unwearable, untouchable, hateful shirt. I wish it would just disappear. But I know at this point, it wouldn’t matter if the shirt was gone or not. At this point, the shirt will always be there, even if it’s not. Yes, the shirt will always be there. So I might as well keep it in my closet.

 

But honestly, it doesn’t affect me that much. Most days, I don’t even think about it. Yet still, I keep the shirt in my closet.

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One thought on “The Shirt

Add yours

  1. This is a really original piece of writing. The feelings of a struggle to come to terms with the event experienced when the shirt was last worn really comes across.

    It left me feeling the feelings of the author. which I guess is one of the aims of all art.

    At first I could not see the reason for the seemingly repetitive sentences, but then it became clear that is what someone agonising over how to deal with the shirt – a metaphor for a bad experience, would do. Obsessing about how to deal with the event.

    Really good!!

    Like

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