It’s 3:11 in the morning.
I can’t sleep.
This, in itself, is not unusual.
I can’t sleep because I had a conversation.
The conversation scared me, yet thrilled me at the same time.
Which is my state of being, as of late.
I’m wearing a canary yellow men’s dress shirt.
I wouldn’t mention it but it’s the basis for the story I’m about to tell.
And yes, I’m boring you with a story because I can’t sleep.
February 2005, the week before Valentine’s Day.
I was dating someone.
He lived approximately 30 miles from me.
Nights were confusing.
He didn’t like staying at my place - because my brother was still living here.
I didn’t like staying at his place - because I’m me and I like my place.
It was the first weeknight that I had consented to stay at his place.
When I sleep in clothing - which rarely to ocassionally happens - I prefer men’s shirts and panties.
I have no idea when or how this started, it just did.
I will make exceptions if I’m somewhere other than my home or the home of someone I’m intimate with; I do own pajamas.
But at his place, I wore a pale yellow men’s oxford shirt.
The first birthday gift my brother had EVER bought me of his own accord.
He and his girlfriend had picked it out for me - their version of new pajamas.
I loved that shirt - for the meaning behind it and the memory.
When we got up that morning, it was late.
Later than I had anticipated.
But still not late enough to make me shower there.
It was early enough in the relationship that I was still self-conscious about certain things.
I have no real reasons for not wanting to shower there, other than I just didn’t want to.
So I just pulled on a pair of jeans, slipped on my heels from the night before and pulled my hair back.
"Where are you going?"
"I’m going home to get ready for work."
"You didn’t bring your things?"
Lie, lie, lie. I had everything I needed in the vehicle.
I always do. Captain Prepared.
I just didn’t want to shower there.
"You should just shower here, that way it’s one less thing to do when you get home, you can throw on your scrubs and head straight to work. It was stupid not to bring your stuff."
He was kind of right.
Work was 20 minutes from his place.
If I went home first, it was 30 minutes home then 45 minutes to work.
I didn’t care.
I wasn’t comfortable enough to shower there.
So I left to go home.
I was within 10 miles of my house when the wreck happened.
I’ve blogged it, Robin’s blogged it, it’s exhausted.
Most of you know what happened.
A guy, high on meth, committed suicide by driving head-on into me while we were both traveling 65-70 mph.
When the EMT’s arrived . . . I was in trouble.
They had to slice the shirt to ribbons.
Each arm was slit up the middle.
It was slit up each side, to allow access to my back and chest.
It was ruined. My brother’s first gift to me, gone.
I kept the bloody shreds for months.
Gallon ziploc bag.
I couldn’t bring myself to trash it.
Tonight, for no real reason, my brother brought me a present.
A brand new yellow men’s dress shirt.
Robin was here, she didn’t even have to be told.
She saw him throw it at me and she got a look on her face and said: "Is that like the one . . ."
And I just said, "Yes."
I waited until my house was empty to put it on.
And I cried silent tears.
For my brother who loves me enough to replace the gift that was lost.
And for a shirt that can never really be replaced.