The jacket hung solemnly in the dark closet, waiting for the girl to remember him. On busy days when she was around, the girl might open and door and bring her light into his box of shadows – the one where less important “things” were sent to live.
Is today the day, he’d wonder longingly.
Then he would watch as she pulled the vacuum from its lair – or worse, grabbed a different jacket or coat from his rack. He called it his because he was the eldest of the clothes who resided here.
“Do you want the black or brown one?” she called out to someone beyond the door.
“The brown one,” another voice, more deep, replied.
And she was gone.
The jacket remembered the time when she loved him, wrapped herself in his arms every day of autumn, winter, and the first days of spring for half a dozen years. He was older than that though. His green-blue and off-white wool had survived almost fifty years. Watched a man march to Vietnam and consoled him when he returned two years later. Hibernated in a chest as the Berlin Wall crumbled and the Cold War came to an end. Slept through a war over oil in Kuwait as well. No one interrupted his long slumber for almost a decade, until one day, the chest door was yanked open and piercing sunlight momentarily blinded his view.
“Ugh, all of this crap can be sent to Goodwill,” an old woman scoffed.
“Wait!” a girl’s voice exclaimed. “Some of this stuff looks cool. I might want to keep it.”
It was then she had picked up the jacket and flung it open, examining his creaky limbs and aged neck for holes or tears.
“I’ll wear this,” she told the old woman.
“Don’t be ridiculous. Your father used to wear that jacket thirty years ago!”
“So what? It looks cool, and it fits me,” the girl shrugged as she pulled her arms into the jacket’s and tugged him close to her thin frame.
After that day, the jacket accompanied her everywhere – to stifling days at school, entertaining nights at the movies, theatre rehearsals, shopping trips, sleepovers, football games…then there were the afternoons and evenings when he tried to comfort her anguished sobs behind closed doors. So much pain was contained inside that young, wilted body; but over time, she grew stronger and less afraid of the world around her, which sparked the courage to leave her unhappiness and move across country to a warmer climate lined with palm trees. All of a sudden, the sun kept her bones heated, and the jacket was not needed anymore to keep her safe from the non-existent cold. He hung in the closet, biding his time and wishing for the day she would take notice of him.
As of now, it had not happened, but he held out hope that one day she would open the door and pull him from the dark once again.