western shirt love letter

Today when I walked into that shop the smell reminded me of you. The way that you smell in the morning after we kiss and fall asleep in each other’s arms; the smell of dust and clothes that have been loved many times before – the same way that I want to wear every piece of clothing you own. The same way I want to have your smell on me like I do today. Swallow and envelope me in the scent. Let me swirl around your mind and understand what you could possibly see in me.

I’m convinced that I bore you. You tell me I don’t – I make you laugh. Let’s never get bored of each other.

The gloomy air and shop window reflections tinker while I wonder whether you would love that shirt, or if you will ever think of me the way I think of you. In that shirt. You messaged me and told me it was thoughtful but joked that I didn’t read the label and a jumpsuit wouldn’t be quite right. He jokes. I’m too serious. Magnetic attraction.

In the last four days, last night was the first on my own. Even though you told me how much you wanted to stay, even though you waited until I fell asleep. I woke up thinking of your last touch. The way that your hands grasp my hair, so tense but yet so timid. I wish that I could feel your breath on my wet cheek while you complain about my morning rituals.

It was my twenty-third birthday and you insisted that I wasn’t old. Through misty eyes I saw the lights in the bar where you bought me an Old Fashioned, where you listened to conversations that made you want to scream. You sipped the whisky and it danced on your tongue and then on mine. Too strong for you, not strong enough for me.

You suit it here.

It was the western shirt. The way that it would have settled on your chest, the same way I did last night and will tonight. The warmth of the yellowed white and brown that would have filtered through the photographs we might’ve taken. It was the western shirt that I saw and thought of you. It was the fucking shirt I saw when I first realised it was probably going to be you.

I went back for it. I wanted it so bad, to remind myself of you when you were away. Last night you told me that we could share it – get it tailored, to cut it off and swap it and share between both of our bodies. It would drown me, but that didn’t matter.

On the way all I could think was how the collar would rest on both of our collarbones. The way that it would look on photographs that our friends would take – the ones that have been by your side since the beginning and those that I have introduced to you. I laughed. We were bound to argue about who could wear it on which day.

It could have been the best four pound I had ever spent. I think it meant more to me.

We said that first thing in the morning I was to go to the shop. Buy it and smuggle it back home like it was a suspicious package – something to be secret, hushed and hidden. How could they not have it? I can still see it hanging, untouched, in its clear packaging – proudly waiting for the right customer.

This morning I went to the shop and turned the corner.

It’s gone. I text. As if it was the most precious thing I had ever seen.

Now all I can think about is that stupid western shirt. But I am going to go back – just in case.

Images from @shotnotfromthestreet