it doesn't look like much, that's for sure. it's an old, white giveaway t-shirt from some college something or other, just a random tchotchke designed to lull nineteen-year-old kids into throwing their money away on some stupid gimmick or scam. but what it lacks in elegance or style, this t-shirt more than makes up for in symbolism. see, i stole it from him. nothing he'll miss. i've known girls who'd take something near and dear to their conquests, wear them around like badges of honor. it's really conspicuous, and it makes a definite statement of "he's MINE, bitches." by stealing such a nondescript totem from the boy, i've made this a lot more about me than about him.
the night was long, one of those hazy celebratory evenings where the party never really ends, just sort of fades away. without really meaning to, we ended up outside alone together, unwinding in the sticky summer air, drinking beer and trying to one up each other in that subtle way that newly minted lovers do. a hand resting lazily on my knee, he smiled at me and suggested a more suitable environment for our discourse. i gladly accepted, and as we moved further into our relationship that night, i knew something had fundamentally changed in me. something had come loose, changed, altered itself, and there was no turning back. when he left, there was a rumpled white t-shirt lying on my floor. must've been an undershirt or something; i didn't really take inventory of what he came in with. i took it, slipped it on, and breathed in his scent as i drifted back to sleep, smiling at the memory and confident in the path we were taking together.
funny how things change over time. that ran its course; we parted ways on the best of terms, as well we should have. i still see him every so often, and that smile is still something that sparks in me. but there's a wistfulness in the way we interact now. we're very different people these days, and it's never clearer than when we talk. but i can look at that t-shirt, which still sits in my dresser drawer, and remember what it was like to take such pleasure in something so small. no greater gift a lover can leave you than the gift of just being happy. that's what he gave me, and that's what his t-shirt means to me.