Feminist Friday: Sweater Shrug

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sweater Shrug
Saying the final goodbye to old habits, bad boyfriends, and the baggage they leave behind.

“I was supposed to get married today, but I never thought I’d hear from you again. When you texted me yesterday and wanted to meet…why? After all this time?”

I was speechless. This really didn’t seem like the right time to tell him that I was merely moving to another country and didn’t exactly have a reason to keep his old sweater (nor did I find it particularly within my right to throw it away, but that's beside the point). When I contacted him yesterday, I was merely hoping this would be a brief exchange between two adults with a shared but presently irrelevant past. Those hopes escaped out the door when he walked into the coffee shop wearing a tux. I had to admit he looked good, exactly as I had imagined when I still believed he could be the marrying type.

“Say something, Mel. I’m starting to feel like a total idiot," he said.

“Well,” I said, looking at the seat in front of me.

He took a seat, his knee bouncing immediately. I fought the urge to grasp his thigh the way I used to when his restless habits began to annoy me. He reached for my hand across the table, but I already had both hands firmly wrapped around my coffee cup so his hand just covered mine awkwardly.

“I’m glad I heard from you," he said. “How long has it been? Three years? Four? I can’t even remember, it’s been so long. Will you tell me, why now?”

I smiled, and removed my hands from under his as politely as I could. Then, I reached into my bag and took out his sweater. It was folded nicely. I had it dry cleaned. It was the least I could do after shoving it in the back of my closet for the past two years. I placed the sweater in front of him on the table.

“I’m moving to Paris. In three weeks,” I said. “I thought I should give this back.”

He stared at the sweater for a long time. Then, he leaned back in his seat and looked at me.

“Moving," he said. I nodded.

“I would have mailed it to you, but I wasn’t sure of the address. Plus, this saves me the shipping costs. But if I had known…about the wedding…”

He shook his head and looked toward the bar. I felt bad, I did, but also relieved. I thought, that poor girl, and also, that could have been me. I stood up and placed a few dollars on the table, enough for the tea plus a little extra.

“I’m sorry about the wedding,” I said.

Then, I left.

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