I have a confession to make.
Sometimes I leave you at home, a beloved necklace I forget to put on in my frantic rush to leave in the morning. Forget, right. I go about my day, hardly noticing that I’m not wearing it. I mean, it’s not like I have to. Then I get home and there it is, glinting on my dresser. A punch to my stomach that will leave bruises so I wouldn’t ever again dare have the audacity to want to—or pretend to, because let’s face it, I never actually could—forget that you are dead.
Or I wear you as a bracelet, somehow too small for my impossibly small wrists. That’s okay, though, because the pinch of skin is my guilty reminder. And I cringe as my fingertips start to tingle and eventually go numb. It’s a pretty bracelet, really, but it isn’t the right size and it fucking hurts. I don’t know how to fix it, or if I can, or if I should. And I keep my sleeve pulled down so no one will see.
You might be a down-filled parka that I throw on July or a sequined cocktail dress I wear to the supermarket—something inappropriate and flashy and crass. Because you fucking died and I don’t care who knows. No, I want everybody to know. I want them to stare and I want them to judge and then I want to tell them all to fuck off for staring and judging. Because who asked them?
Unexpectedly, even after all this time, you are a heavy duvet, the weight of which pins me to my bed and squeezes all of it out of me—all of my plans for the day, every potential laugh and smile, whatever optimistic thoughts I had meagerly scraped together. I can’t move and I can’t breathe; I don’t remember how. But, somehow, I do remember how to cry. So I cry. I tangle myself in that sopping, tearstained duvet and I cry and cry and cry.
You are all of the times I wear odd socks and nobody can tell but it doesn’t matter because I can and I hate not matching. You are a hat that’s two sizes too small and eventually gives me a headache but I can’t take it off now because my hair will look like shit. You are a pair of too-big boots that I wear and shuffle around in awkwardly and curse the fact that I bought them in the first place. Fucking boots.
Do you notice the unfortunate trend, brother? The mismatching, the discomfort, the stares, the pain?
Because, honestly, I’m too afraid to wear you like I should be—like a favourite sweater, all warm and safe and familiar and, oh, when I bury my face in the knit folds and breath in, it’s all happy memories and love. But everything wears out eventually, right? Especially the things you love and wear too often. The colours fade and the stitches start to fall apart. And, if we’re still taking in metaphors here and my happiest memories of you is the yarn that makes up this sweater, then I can’t get a new one. I can’t replace it, I can’t fix it. Ha, yeah, what with? There’s nothing new to be had, to weave into something precious. I can’t do anything because it’s been six years since you died and it’s already starting to show. The edges are fraying and all I have is this stupid sweater and a useless pile of metaphors.