by on August 20, 2009 :: 0 comments

“You stole it,” he says,
taking a sip of his drink,
a wry smile playing on his lips.

“I didn’t steal it,” I say,
I found it, I think. I saved it.
I rescued it. They should have been more careful.

“You stole it,” he says again.

I look down at the blue t-shirt
the way it fits perfectly,
the way it hugs my breasts,
especially now, with no bra on,
like a strange pair of illicit hands
holding the weight.

And he’s probably right. I did steal it.
But it was left in the washing machine
downstairs, in the basement of this giant building.
They left other clothes too but I noticed them
as I pulled my wet shirts and underwear into the basket.

I didn’t notice the blue t-shirt because it looked like
it was something I would own.
Should own.

“You need to bring it back downstairs,” he says.
“I know,” I say and then change the topic
because I also know that if I do, if I leave it on the
oh-so-polite communal table of the wash room,
like the way people leave movies or used books for anyone to take
that someone else will find it before the owner.

And it won’t hug their curves,
or show their nipples in quite the same way.
And did I mention how soft it was?
Or that it has the cutest little bleach stain on the back, just by the shoulder blade?
Or how it reminds me of a t-shirt I used to have
a million years ago, when my hips and breasts were smaller
and my high school boyfriend and I wore the same size.
I used to let him borrow it
and when he gave it back to me
it smelled like him,
him and sex and summer nights on the beach
and rainy fall days in my rusted out car
and kisses that lasted hours, and punk rock shows
and cigarettes and aimless night in small towns
with nothing to do but try to not get pregnant.

“What if it was your favorite black t-shirt?” he adds.
“Yes I know,” I say changing the topic again.

Because right now, on the couch,
I don’t mind being the bad person, the thief.
I don’t mind remembering
for a change.
Remembering the good parts of back then.
I’ll wash it next week.
And I’ll give it back.
I promise.

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