that night, i wore a polo shirt.
i thought hey, i'm going to a friend's
dorm, no need to dress up, right?
so i wore a polo shirt, a yellow and blue and pink
thing. i'd bought it from a charity shop
only weeks earlier, when i was still exploring
a new university town
and finding not-so-hidden gems;
and sure, it was three sizes too big
but it was comfortable, and made me feel safe.
turns out, you didn't care about polo shirts
or tank tops. you cared about what was underneath
and i was drunk enough to let you - or,
well, not really let you, but i didn't need to dress up
so i wore baggy clothes and a smile
so i had half a bottle of jack daniels
and i had a nineteen year old point to prove
and i had a pill that you gave me
and i had - sorry, have - a therapist's bill.
but this isn't about you. i don't write about you.
i make a point of not writing about you,
actually. which is to say that i write about you
in a way that doesn't let you hurt me anymore.
i write about what i was wearing
(did i deserve it? in my 1970s male t-shirt?)
or what i was drinking
(it was university)
or how i tried to throw myself into a river
in the aftermath
(but i didn't, because i got thirsty, and i didn't
want to die thirsty, so i went home).
no, i'm writing about the polo shirt i was wearing.
cotton, i think. polyester, probably.
the amazing technicolour haze of am i sober enough for this?
who knows how many iterations
of the same lancaster charity shop
it circled through, old men with families
and wives and kids -
it probably saw birthdays and christmases
and, safely tucked in the back of a closet,
shielded itself from the almost-crisis of cuban missiles.
and then, me. a nineteen year old
branching out into the world for the first time;
a lover of poetry, maker of music, naïve and beautiful.
then, it was just a polo shirt, and i wore it
as long as it was laundered, for a month or so,
until december. not that i stopped wearing it
because it was cold. it just reminded me of hands
and hands and hands and
****, how many hands can a man have?
how long will i have to feel them?
i didn't shower the day after, just slept.
a hangover, right? just a hangover.
and then, when the hot water in my dorm
daily ticked on, i washed every inch of myself
to get rid of you, and your foam banana shower gel
that your mother probably told you to buy.
so, what compensation do you owe me?
what price should i put on things?
you touch it, so you pay for it.
one charity shop shirt, three pounds please.
oh this is DARK my apologies <3 i'm fine <3