Let me paint you a picture with words, a picture of this sweatshirt and how I came about it. For it came into my hands not by accident, and not on purpose. I still have it for neither of those reasons either, and one might wonder why something so alien to me is in my possession.
This sweatshirt I'm wearing belongs to a boy that I really don't know. I only started not hating him but two years ago, and only started defending his odd traits--his anger, his feminin-like moodiness, his off-color jokes-- this year. Really, I don't know him. I've overheard his deepest conversations, of course, as he sat in the room in which I was painting tediously. I grinned idiotically at the prospect of him kissing my forehead in the play when I was sixteen. We shared passionless hugs, and there was that awkward, intimate comment he made backstage, and he gave me the laugh I needed most.
I was going to give the sweatshirt back. Honest. I thought about it almost every day. He forgot it after school in March and I put it in the car to bring to him. It sat in the backseat, and every morning he walked by the car towards the office and I considered waving it in the air and calling out, "Josh! You forgot your sweatshirt at the barn!" But I never did that. And I have no excuse for it. Obviously he's forgotten about it by now because it's been several months.
I washed it the other day. It stills smells like him. It doesn't smell like the cologne he wore last year that intoxicated me during play practices. But it smells like a foreign cleanliness. Sure, it's been washed with my detergent in my washer. But there's an unfamiliar, enthralling smell to it; a smell that welcomes me into the warm depths of this sweatshirt, yet reminds me of what it really is.
If next year had already started by now and I had begun AP Literature, I would probably do what English nerds to best and say that this sweatshirt is a symbol of our friendship: Ignored for so long, yet thought about; distant but welcoming; a true comfort when needed. I will wear it in honor of our askance relationship, and when I breathe in its soapy, foreign scent, I will remember with a smile how he shouted to me across campus, across the dance floor, into the studio, "You're a good painter!"