The Shirt

The Shirt

Author Jordyn Flaherty

She held it in her hand, turned it over, pressed it softly against her skin. She looked at the faded fabric until tears welled up in her eyes. It was blue. The blue of summer days passed, her father's eyes, most of all, her country- that was the blue of the t-shirt. When she pulled it over her head it encompassed her small frame. She mashed her nose into it desperately, trying to find the scent of her father, trying to remember his aftershave coffee sadness blend, but it was gone. The smell of mildew and closet swallowed her in its place, and she felt herself drowning in the memories.

She could not smell him, but she could still hear his words. Every night a story. Every night he’d tell her of his life. In his rumbling tibre like thunder marching across an empty sky, he’d tell her of the times before, of times that were just shadows and dust for her, yet once were as real as the shirt she held. 

She hadn’t seen her son for 10 years. She didn’t know what colors he preferred, what he smelled like or looked like or talked like. All she could remember was his young face the last time that she saw him. She could still hear his cries as she thrust him into his grandmother’s arms. She wondered what her husband thought, if he ever noticed when she woke up screaming, if the screams slit a section of his heart like her father’s used to break hers.     

It didn’t matter because she wouldn’t yell anymore. Not after tomorrow. Tomorrow he would come home like he was supposed to, like he should have long ago, and she could finally hold him. 

She can’t wait for that moment, can’t wait to see her twelve year old son, can’t wait to hold him in her arms….But for now, she just sits on the bed, shirt around her, eyes closed, thinking of the past and the future.

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