So I'm cleaning out my closets, and this time I swear I'm going to be ruthless. It doesn't matter how cute something looks on the hanger. For once, I'm going to accept the fact that...
...I never got around to buying a top to go with these pants, and what's more, I never will.
...no matter how much I hope it won't, the red fleece sweater will always attract every dog hair within fifty miles.
...the '90s are never, ever coming back.
No rationalization. No denial. And it's working. The donation bags are getting full, my overstuffed drawers are breathing sighs of relief. Then...I get to the T-shirts.
I pull out this tank, squashed near the bottom of the drawer, and instantly I'm back in Italy. Hot blazing blue sky, turquoise water. White pebble beaches and crooked narrow streets. It was my first trip abroad. I was 22. That fall, I started...
...veterinary school, where I met...
...my sweetheart. Yellowstone was our first road trip. Every night, we had to find a hill to park on so that we could roll-start the VW van the next morning. VW vans have crappy electrical systems. On the upside, every other VW driver on the road will wave to you.
After we graduated, my sweetheart moved to Kansas, while I drove down I-5 to my first veterinary job in...
...Mariposa, just outside Yosemite National Park. I made a wonderful friend, Marybeth, and we went to the county fair and I got this tee promoting Mariposa County's Division of Alcohol and Drug Programs. I have no idea why. Anyway, the butterfly is pretty.
From thousands of miles away, my sweetheart sent me an Indigo Girls song:
"To let this love survive would be the greatest gift we could give
Tell all the friends who think they're so together
That these are ghosts and mirages, these thoughts of fairer weather
Though it's storming out, I feel safe within the arms
Of love's discovery."
Not surprisingly, soon after that we moved to Tennessee together...
...where, among other things, we went to Indigo Girls concerts. And then...
One by one, I lay the T-shirts out. They're old. Most of them I haven't worn in years. Get rid of them, the ruthless voice demands. They're just taking up space.
I smooth my hand over the worn fabric, the cracked designs. And then I fold them back up, one by one, and I nestle them back in the drawer.
Sometimes, the best memories aren't in photographs.