August 10, 2020 / Jacqueline Knox
Nature raged and I couldn't help but wonder if you would still be there.
Finding you was crazy. It was one of those spiritual moments where I was unaware of what I'd gotten myself into. My sister dragged me into some hippy-dippy trailer full of clothes, and I am forever thankful that she did because inside that trailer, well, that was where I found you.
Honestly, I had been looking for you for a while. I needed something new. Something fresh. Something void of stories and ready to be filled with life. Hence, you entered the picture.
In between that sequin dress and that boho-looking midi skirt, I saw you peeking out, calling me. I could feel the whisper urging me toward you. So, I approached, brushing my hand against your thick denim waistline.
I tried you on, the brisk fabric running against my legs, and you fit. You weren’t exactly a perfect match, but I knew we would grow into the perfect pair. I walked in that trailer with low expectations, and I walked out with you.
The best part of you was that you fit my Catherine — my sister and best friend. At the time, she would always come into my closet, stealing you away before I even woke up. I would get out of bed and reach to put you on, but you wouldn’t be there. It seemed like the worst thing and started a whole period of her and me fighting.
I got onto her a couple of times, but big sisters have to be the bigger person. Despite my want for you, I gave in, sharing you, and even letting you stay in her closet for a while.
At the time, though, you were still mine. You did become less and less perfect. But, while you were becoming worn and frayed, you were becoming more and more a part of me. You were an extension of myself, reminding me that as much as I try, I am not and will never be perfect. You showed me that. You held my mistakes and you held my achievements, making you a part of the good times and the learning experiences.
I put you on when I wanted to feel confident. I’m not sure how, but I know I felt it. It was a magic that only you could be the magician of. You made me feel like me. Then I would watch Catherine slip you on. Thread by thread, you were leaving me to be with her.
There was one night, though, a night that seemed like something I should’ve watched in a horror movie. I saw the flames and saw the smoke, but I couldn't see the damage. When I walked into my house, after lightning had erupted into a destructive fire, the smell overtook me. Char was all I could smell, with soot entering my body through every breath. I rushed to my room to see if you were okay. I didn't know if you would be there — if you would be with me anymore.
And there you were, hanging in your spot on the rack. You didn't smell good. Frankly, you didn't even look good. But it was you, and you were safe. You weren’t the same, but I knew you. That was all that mattered.
We went through a lot together, sharing many beautiful moments. You tagged along when I met my niece for the first time. Holding her in my arms and hearing her soft breath was so beautiful, so moving. You got to witness my parents embracing their first grandchild and the joy on their faces.
But ever since the fire, you reminded me that not all of the moments were good. You hold those memories for me, woven along with every thread. The loneliness, the disappointment, and the rejection. We spent a couple of nights curled up on the couch watching shitty TV shows to somehow cheer me up. I’m sure if we collected all the tears I had cried while wearing you, we could run you through the washer multiple times.
That night, you scared me into thinking that you were gone, just a heaping pile of burnt string. Catherine and I ran for you together. The closeness I felt to you was no match for the closeness I felt for her while we watched our life erupt before us. But the fear that you wouldn't be there made me realize that you can't be mine forever.
One day I’m going to have to say goodbye. Whether you no longer fit into my life, or I just grow apart from you, leaving you for something newer and bluer. Every memory that you hold goes along with you, but maybe I can give you to someone else. Someone who can add their own stories, their stains, and their tears. Someone I could call my best friend.
You will not belong to me anymore, but you will always be mine.
Story by Jacqueline Knox.
Layout Angie Huang.
Photographer Erin Dorney.
Stylist Monserrat Elias.
HMUA Yeonsoo Jung.
Model Jillian Westphal.
View the full spread as it appeared in Issue No. 18 here.