This essay began as a therapy exercise in a residential eating disorder treatment center. For whatever reason, I had sketched my favorite pair of jeans in the middle of a sheet of paper, then filled the white space with words. Here are those words.
Our paths first crossed in the summer of 2014.
The time was 3 in the afternoon, right after your shift. The place was the trendy thrift shop which countless young people of your general age and stature chose to congregate in the hope that they would emerge reborn, shrouded in a new identity. But as luck would have it, only one girl was destined to choose me that hot Texas afternoon.
I remember how delighted you were when you tried me on and discovered I was a perfect fit for your long torso and athletic calves. You vowed to wear me everywhere, and I was ecstatic at the promise of a second chance at life. Indeed, we went everywhere at first!
Motorcycle rides in the hill country, parties with friends where we danced til 2am, even camping. No occasion was too stiff or too loose for us to make an appearance. I knew how to make you look good — that is, until you got sick.
I first noticed when you stopped taking me to hang out with your friends. All of a sudden, you needed me less and less. We no longer fit together like we did in the beginning, when you were happy and strong. Now you were small and weak and sad.
You folded me up and put me in a dark box, where I lost all hope.
Then, one day, your face appeared and your hands reached for me once more.
You were better — but some things felt different. You looked at me more doubtfully than you had when we first met. As we tramped through your favorite neighborhood at dusk, I thought I caught a flicker of disgust when your hands brushed where I hugged your hips. For a moment, I was sad again.
Then, we are at a gathering of sorts. People are happy to see us; some of them are crying. You even start crying, and I’m worried about you.
Then, it’s just us again in the full-length mirror of the restaurant bathroom. You look at us together and smile.
I know it’s going to be alright.