I have a soft spot for stolen clothes from my loves. That's lovers in all senses - familial and romantic and friends. They can give me things all they like, but I am terrible at returning loaned things. Possession is temporary: nothing is really ours after all, is it? So I keep things, magpie-like, pieces of people I don't want to forget and reminders of things I need to remember. I used to steal my brother's pyjamas when we were kids; now, I borrow my father's tailcoat to go to a ball. It's wearing pieces of history, bringing the past into the present, taking on old
Sometimes in my head I get an image of me wearing the things I've received from the people who mattered most to me at the time, all at once. I'm barefoot, because my feet are too small to steal socks or shoes; I am in boxers I stole from the dancer I had a mostly-physical relationship with and wearing the oversized t-shirt of a boy I loved, but was not in love with. There's a long necklace from the first girl I ever dated, which hangs low and bronze almost to my navel. And I am wearing the hoodie of the one I am in love with, while circumstances are getting in the way.
When I am sad I wear other people's clothes. It makes me feel connected, reminds me that others exist even when I am alone and lonely. Today I am in my mother's cardigan and my friend's big, blue coat. They are keeping me warm in the cold, keeping the rain away from my face and holding me together when I feel like falling apart.
I know I should give these things back, but things are only things. Material possessions matter less than memories to me. Moment and experiences are transient and can give you the warmth or sadness that clothes cannot. I have always been a physical person, and the proximity and affection of touch is what I seem to perpetually crave. It is getting hard for me to sleep alone. The quiet of my room is no match for the tumult of my brain. And I have always been fine by myself, but that doesn't mean I am not lonely.
My mother's feet are smaller than mine and she still wears my old trainers that I have grown out of. I wonder if she feels fond of me when she wears them. I would. Or does she just see them as trainers, utilitarian things to keep her feet dry?
I don't know what is going on with my life, but I will give back this cerulean blue hoodie if my love asks me to. It's the colour of a clear sky, the highlights in my hair, my eyes in a storm. (His eyes are more green.) If love is putting someone else first then my selfish heart can do that, even if it means martyring myself. I will give back the hoodie that after two months still smells of him. But if he does not, then I will keep it. It reminds me of affection, of being held, warm hands on my cold arms. I am holding myself together as best I can, in other's clothes, to keep me whole when I want to unravel.
I suppose I have always been one to wear my heart on my sleeve.