That feeling, that sudden wham and thump smack into your gut, that external force obliterating your innards to create a hollowness that extends down, down, through cavities formerly occupied by a stomach, by intestines; even the higher duties of the pancreas are cast to nothing by means of this full throttle force. Considering the fish-faced expression of those individuals stunned by stated force (a fixed gaze sans-blink and a jaw gaping wide incapable of speech), the absolute extinction of any possible joy in life probably begins its self-satisfying path of destruction by way of pupils, which are, after all, open but more or less unseeing, with the majority of the senses’ focus turned inward to comprehend whatever sparked the end, to consider the meaning and depths of the devouring force of pain. The force continues downward through larynx and esophagus, thieving breath along the way, enters the abdominal cavity to create the aforementioned “wham” and “thump”, and pulls fast further downward still, creating what has been, in the past, described as “that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach.”

 

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That feeling.

 

It is a phrase, a feeling, instantly understood and sympathized with; so often we experience that feeling because it is most often caused by something insignificant, a transient apocalypse. Your favorite baseball team, for example, losing a championship game in extra innings (they were supposed to go all the way this year!); those blue and red lights flashing, indicating that it is in your best interest to pull over (Me? Not again. I do not have the time or the funds to deal with this ticket); opening the refrigerator door to find that last slice of Uncle Lou’s homemade cheesecake (which you had definitely claimed as yours the night before) is gone; the waiting (and waiting and waiting) for a response from the boy to whom you’ve completely exposed yourself, body and soul, as you reason with yourself why you are too insignificant for him; the realization that you’ve misplaced—you’ve in fact lost—a favorite belonging, perhaps a piece of clothing, perhaps a favorite cardigan.

The particular misplacement of a cardigan creates, arguably, the worst abdominal pitfall, because there is no one else that can possibly be blamed besides you and your damned forgetfulness. Honestly, it’s a cardigan, how hard could it be to hold on to? And shouldn’t you have been wearing it, anyways? That is what you bought it for. You’re so damned absent minded.

It really could be anywhere by now. It’s been days since you lost it—and in New York City? How does your absent minded self even survive in the city? First you forget the cardigan, next it’s the keys to your apartment, your wallet…

But your feelings! Let us consider your feelings as you sit here wallowing in the misery of that feeling. It really was [still is] a lovely cardigan (in fact, you could probably buy another one right now, $29.99 at The Gap). It fit perfectly: loose and breezy enough to achieve the “I don’t really care if I look good to you because I am comfortable” look, but still a classy and sophisticated cardigan. And taste, feel the joy of a creamsicle-infused summer through the pale threads of orange-and-white horizontal stripes! Of course, the white lines were the thicker of the two colors; it would be a bit outrageous to have a predominantly orange cardigan.

I know, I know nothing could ever replace that cardigan (not even that same one, in the shop window, right there). You had owned it for only three days and already a piece of thread on the cuff of the right sleeve hung loose, already faint pit stains had formed from walking in it from Union Square to the Guggenheim in a single day – the kind of walk that forms a connection between a girl and the threads of her cardigan, to contest the chasm which forms between her feet and her footwear.

The cardigan was your own, bought with your money, during your first taste of independent living. There are artists with their laboriously created, should-really-be-displayed-in-a-museum masterpieces…and there is you and your worn-in cardigan.

 

Rather, there is you and, somewhere in this city, there is your worn-in cardigan….

 

Is that feeling gone now? Does remembering the cardigan’s form, the days you spent in it, help to alleviate the pain? I’ll bet it could be in countless coffee shops across the city, maybe lying on the floor, or placed ever so carefully on the curved back of a scratched up wooden chair…

 

            “Excuse me, Miss, is this yours?” inquired the beautiful man with dark hair, quickly tousled and parted to the side that morning in front of his apartment’s dirty bathroom window. His eyes, of the deepest blue and insufferably penetrating, sought a response from the wisp of a woman seated in an overstuffed chair nearby. His strong, tan hands offered up a wrinkled creamsicle-orange and white striped cardigan to the lady in waiting, and he repeated,

           “Miss? Did you drop this?”

           Blushing, and smiling politely, she shakes her head. 

          "No, someone else must have left it here.”

           “Oh, I’m sorry to bother you then.” Movie Star Man flashes his movie star smile, then turns to walk away, his broad, muscular shoulders smoothly rotating away from her as she watches him turn, turn…

            “Turn it in, maybe?” she calls to his back.

            He quickly restores his gaze to the woman, who was not so much of a wisp herself, but more so in her mannerisms and appearance. She flicks long, thin, straw-like hair away form her eyes with a fragile and bracelet-bangled arm protruding out of a loose white t-shirt, and repeats her suggestion with the accompaniment of a faint smile, downturned eyes, and a single note of laughter.

           “I said that maybe we should turn it in at the register, in case whoever lost the sweater comes back looking for it.” Gaze shifts upwards to Movie Star Man.

            This same upwards shift of her gaze will be repeated by Wispy Woman throughout the following years, although her eyes’ timorous nature will have since been replaced by soft-spoken adoration, four years later, as she stands on the altar across from Movie Star Man. They are madly in love.

 

Oh, you don’t depend on love? I suppose someone attached to a cardigan above all else isn’t really the most romantic sort...well, hadn’t you mentioned that, by chance, it might be in the fitting room of a boutique you had stopped in? I know, I know, it’s so hard to recall the names of these shops, when there are thousands of them scattered every which way on these streets, and each one has some exotic name…

 

            Lydia swept the wooden floor of Adalia’s, the shop in which she worked, just as she had at 7:30 in the morning before opening, and just as she had at 1:00, after a half hour lunch break.  It was now 6:12 pm, and she was hoping to make a dinner reservation set for 7. A friend of hers wanted to introduce her to someone who knew someone who worked for a known fashion magazine. Not that Lydia was hoping to gain anything from the new acquaintance, of course, it just…might be interesting to talk about what circulates through the fashion world. She frequently checked the time on her watch as she swept, while her boss flicked through hanging clothes, re-racking dresses. Her request, “Ms. Helks, would it be okay for me to clock out at 6:30? I’ve swept and dusted and organized the receipts,” had elicited a you-can’t-leave-work-on-your-own-terms-just-to-make-your-life-the-least-bit-more-convenient response, only phrased,

             “Just look at the dressing rooms one more time, dear. Undesirable fitting rooms create undesirable clothes.”

              Ms. Helks readjusted the corners of her glasses and pursed her lips, never moving her eyes from the clothes rack to Lydia.

             Faithfully following orders, Lydia peered into the first spotless room, then the second. Crumpled and tiny in the corner, sulking, almost, with neglect, was a sweater. Lydia picked it up, flapped it once, twice, hard through the air to smooth the wrinkles, and examined it. With her head cocked to the side and one eye-brow raised, Lydia conjured images of barely-there runway models strutting in this sort of tattered, worn-in, striped cardigan sweater. Vintage, grunge, garbage-chic.

             Returning to her present state of affairs, Lydia exits the fitting room. “All clear, except for this,” she says, handing over the dirty cardigan to Mrs. Helks, who holds it, as if diseased, with her thumb and index fingers, and places it next to the cash register. Lydia exits the shop, her mind focused on an outfit she was formulating, to be transferred to her fashion sketch pads at home. In recounting her brilliant outfit ideas at dinner that evening (for which she was only eleven minutes late, incidentally), Lydia seized the attention and interest of the friend of the friend of the fashion magazine employee. The friend of the friend of the assistant editor of the magazine, to be more precise. It felt good, for once, to be a floor sweeper, possessing nothing less than keen eyes, a sharp mind, and a bright future in the fashion world.

 

Do you ever wonder what became of that leaf—tinged golden, which fell from the longest bough of the third largest tree in your yard last September (you gazed, sight without thought, from your front steps, with car keys clenched in left and coffee mug positioned in right)—? Or the banana peel you threw out yesterday with your lunch, or your parents’ romance, or your fourth-grade book report on Black Beauty, or the cocoa-colored stuffed bear with the red bow your aunt bought you for your seventh birthday?

 

The first raindrop hit the surface of 3rd and 13th at approximately 2:47 yesterday afternoon, cutting short countless pool parties, barbeques, jogs, dog walks, picnics, park visits, and other such leisurely activities. Casualties of the rain included cardboard boxes, paper bags, junk mail; objects unwanted and unnecessary for anything important, and so were discarded on the side of the road. On the sidewalk of 3rd and 13th lay, with the day’s newspaper and several Styrofoam coffee cups, a cardigan. Soaked through thread by thread, it lay: abandoned, forgotten, lost; unwanted, unimportant. Eventually, as part of the ever-pressing need to beautify the city, the cardigan, a heaped, crumpled, melted mess of bruised orange and white, is disposed of among the mass of city waste, never again to be even considered, doted upon, draped over shoulders—never again to be loved, to have its existence ever known…because sometimes what is lost is, simply, lost.

 

You wrote, yesterday, a brief message. “I got another cardigan, don’t worry!” This is not a time for exclamation marks and brief light-hearted messages, crazy! Crazy. It was a brief, intense, love affair, not regrettable in the least, and filled solely with passion, solely with tender attachment and unwavering devotion.

 

It’s already slipped your hand, though.

It’s absented your mind, as if it never really mattered at all.

That feeling.

 

It is a phrase, a feeling, instantly understood and sympathized with; so often we experience that feeling because it is most often caused by something insignificant, a transient apocalypse. Your favorite baseball team, for example, losing a championship game in extra innings (they were supposed to go all the way this year!); those blue and red lights flashing, indicating that it is in your best interest to pull over (Me? Not again. I do not have the time or the funds to deal with this ticket); opening the refrigerator door to find that last slice of Uncle Lou’s homemade cheesecake (which you had definitely claimed as yours the night before) is gone; the waiting (and waiting and waiting) for a response from the boy to whom you’ve completely exposed yourself, body and soul, as you reason with yourself why you are too insignificant for him; the realization that you’ve misplaced—you’ve in fact lost—a favorite belonging, perhaps a piece of clothing, perhaps a favorite cardigan.

The particular misplacement of a cardigan creates, arguably, the worst abdominal pitfall, because there is no one else that can possibly be blamed besides you and your damned forgetfulness. Honestly, it’s a cardigan, how hard could it be to hold on to? And shouldn’t you have been wearing it, anyways? That is what you bought it for. You’re so damned absent minded.

It really could be anywhere by now. It’s been days since you lost it—and in New York City? How does your absent minded self even survive in the city? First you forget the cardigan, next it’s the keys to your apartment, your wallet…

But your feelings! Let us consider your feelings as you sit here wallowing in the misery of that feeling. It really was [still is] a lovely cardigan (in fact, you could probably buy another one right now, $29.99 at The Gap). It fit perfectly: loose and breezy enough to achieve the “I don’t really care if I look good to you because I am comfortable” look, but still a classy and sophisticated cardigan. And taste, feel the joy of a creamsicle-infused summer through the pale threads of orange-and-white horizontal stripes! Of course, the white lines were the thicker of the two colors; it would be a bit outrageous to have a predominantly orange cardigan.

I know, I know nothing could ever replace that cardigan (not even that same one, in the shop window, right there). You had owned it for only three days and already a piece of thread on the cuff of the right sleeve hung loose, already faint pit stains had formed from walking in it from Union Square to the Guggenheim in a single day – the kind of walk that forms a connection between a girl and the threads of her cardigan, to contest the chasm which forms between her feet and her footwear.

The cardigan was your own, bought with your money, during your first taste of independent living. There are artists with their laboriously created, should-really-be-displayed-in-a-museum masterpieces…and there is you and your worn-in cardigan.

 

Rather, there is you and, somewhere in this city, there is your worn-in cardigan….

 

Is that feeling gone now? Does remembering the cardigan’s form, the days you spent in it, help to alleviate the pain? I’ll bet it could be in countless coffee shops across the city, maybe lying on the floor, or placed ever so carefully on the curved back of a scratched up wooden chair…

 

            “Excuse me, Miss, is this yours?” inquired the beautiful man with dark hair, quickly tousled and parted to the side that morning in front of his apartment’s dirty bathroom window. His eyes, of the deepest blue and insufferably penetrating, sought a response from the wisp of a woman seated in an overstuffed chair nearby. His strong, tan hands offered up a wrinkled creamsicle-orange and white striped cardigan to the lady in waiting, and he repeated,

           “Miss? Did you drop this?”

           Blushing, and smiling politely, she shakes her head. 

          "No, someone else must have left it here.”

           “Oh, I’m sorry to bother you then.” Movie Star Man flashes his movie star smile, then turns to walk away, his broad, muscular shoulders smoothly rotating away from her as she watches him turn, turn…

            “Turn it in, maybe?” she calls to his back.

            He quickly restores his gaze to the woman, who was not so much of a wisp herself, but more so in her mannerisms and appearance. She flicks long, thin, straw-like hair away form her eyes with a fragile and bracelet-bangled arm protruding out of a loose white t-shirt, and repeats her suggestion with the accompaniment of a faint smile, downturned eyes, and a single note of laughter.

           “I said that maybe we should turn it in at the register, in case whoever lost the sweater comes back looking for it.” Gaze shifts upwards to Movie Star Man.

            This same upwards shift of her gaze will be repeated by Wispy Woman throughout the following years, although her eyes’ timorous nature will have since been replaced by soft-spoken adoration, four years later, as she stands on the altar across from Movie Star Man. They are madly in love.

 

Oh, you don’t depend on love? I suppose someone attached to a cardigan above all else isn’t really the most romantic sort...well, hadn’t you mentioned that, by chance, it might be in the fitting room of a boutique you had stopped in? I know, I know, it’s so hard to recall the names of these shops, when there are thousands of them scattered every which way on these streets, and each one has some exotic name…

 

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Rather, there is you and, somewhere in this city, there is your worn-in cardigan….


Is that feeling gone now? Does remembering the cardigan’s form, the days you spent in it, help to alleviate the pain? I’ll bet it could be in countless coffee shops across the city, maybe lying on the floor, or placed ever so carefully on the curved back of a scratched up wooden chair…


            “Excuse me, Miss, is this yours?” inquired the beautiful man with dark hair, quickly tousled and parted to the side that morning in front of his apartment’s dirty bathroom window. His eyes, of the deepest blue and insufferably penetrating, sought a response from the wisp of a woman seated in an overstuffed chair nearby. His strong, tan hands offered up a wrinkled creamsicle-orange and white striped cardigan to the lady in waiting, and he repeated,

           “Miss? Did you drop this?”

           Blushing, and smiling politely, she shakes her head. 

          "No, someone else must have left it here.”

           “Oh, I’m sorry to bother you then.” Movie Star Man flashes his movie star smile, then turns to walk away, his broad, muscular shoulders smoothly rotating away from her as she watches him turn, turn…

            “Turn it in, maybe?” she calls to his back.

            He quickly restores his gaze to the woman, who was not so much of a wisp herself, but more so in her mannerisms and appearance. She flicks long, thin, straw-like hair away form her eyes with a fragile and bracelet-bangled arm protruding out of a loose white t-shirt, and repeats her suggestion with the accompaniment of a faint smile, downturned eyes, and a single note of laughter.

           “I said that maybe we should turn it in at the register, in case whoever lost the sweater comes back looking for it.” Gaze shifts upwards to Movie Star Man.

            This same upwards shift of her gaze will be repeated by Wispy Woman throughout the following years, although her eyes’ timorous nature will have since been replaced by soft-spoken adoration, four years later, as she stands on the altar across from Movie Star Man. They are madly in love.

 

Oh, you don’t depend on love? I suppose someone attached to a cardigan above all else isn’t really the most romantic sort...well, hadn’t you mentioned that, by chance, it might be in the fitting room of a boutique you had stopped in? I know, I know, it’s so hard to recall the names of these shops, when there are thousands of them scattered every which way on these streets, and each one has some exotic name…


            Lydia swept the wooden floor of Adalia’s, the shop in which she worked, just as she had at 7:30 in the morning before opening, and just as she had at 1:00, after a half hour lunch break.  It was now 6:12 pm, and she was hoping to make a dinner reservation set for 7. A friend of hers wanted to introduce her to someone who knew someone who worked for a known fashion magazine. Not that Lydia was hoping to gain anything from the new acquaintance, of course, it just…might be interesting to talk about what circulates through the fashion world. She frequently checked the time on her watch as she swept, while her boss flicked through hanging clothes, re-racking dresses. Her request, “Ms. Helks, would it be okay for me to clock out at 6:30? I’ve swept and dusted and organized the receipts,” had elicited a you-can’t-leave-work-on-your-own-terms-just-to-make-your-life-the-least-bit-more-convenient response, only phrased,

             “Just look at the dressing rooms one more time, dear. Undesirable fitting rooms create undesirable clothes.”

              Ms. Helks readjusted the corners of her glasses and pursed her lips, never moving her eyes from the clothes rack to Lydia.

             Faithfully following orders, Lydia peered into the first spotless room, then the second. Crumpled and tiny in the corner, sulking, almost, with neglect, was a sweater. Lydia picked it up, flapped it once, twice, hard through the air to smooth the wrinkles, and examined it. With her head cocked to the side and one eye-brow raised, Lydia conjured images of barely-there runway models strutting in this sort of tattered, worn-in, striped cardigan sweater. Vintage, grunge, garbage-chic.

             Returning to her present state of affairs, Lydia exits the fitting room. “All clear, except for this,” she says, handing over the dirty cardigan to Mrs. Helks, who holds it, as if diseased, with her thumb and index fingers, and places it next to the cash register. Lydia exits the shop, her mind focused on an outfit she was formulating, to be transferred to her fashion sketch pads at home. In recounting her brilliant outfit ideas at dinner that evening (for which she was only eleven minutes late, incidentally), Lydia seized the attention and interest of the friend of the friend of the fashion magazine employee. The friend of the friend of the assistant editor of the magazine, to be more precise. It felt good, for once, to be a floor sweeper, possessing nothing less than keen eyes, a sharp mind, and a bright future in the fashion world.


Do you ever wonder what became of that leaf—tinged golden, which fell from the longest bough of the third largest tree in your yard last September (you gazed, sight without thought, from your front steps, with car keys clenched in left and coffee mug positioned in right)—? Or the banana peel you threw out yesterday with your lunch, or your parents’ romance, or your fourth-grade book report on Black Beauty, or the cocoa-colored stuffed bear with the red bow your aunt bought you for your seventh birthday?


The first raindrop hit the surface of 3rd and 13th at approximately 2:47 yesterday afternoon, cutting short countless pool parties, barbeques, jogs, dog walks, picnics, park visits, and other such leisurely activities. Casualties of the rain included cardboard boxes, paper bags, junk mail; objects unwanted and unnecessary for anything important, and so were discarded on the side of the road. On the sidewalk of 3rd and 13th lay, with the day’s newspaper and several Styrofoam coffee cups, a cardigan. Soaked through thread by thread, it lay: abandoned, forgotten, lost; unwanted, unimportant. Eventually, as part of the ever-pressing need to beautify the city, the cardigan, a heaped, crumpled, melted mess of bruised orange and white, is disposed of among the mass of city waste, never again to be even considered, doted upon, draped over shoulders—never again to be loved, to have its existence ever known…because sometimes what is lost is, simply, lost.

 

You wrote, yesterday, a brief message. “I got another cardigan, don’t worry!” This is not a time for exclamation marks and brief light-hearted messages, crazy! Crazy. It was a brief, intense, love affair, not regrettable in the least, and filled solely with passion, solely with tender attachment and unwavering devotion.


It’s already slipped your hand, though.

It’s absented your mind, as if it never really mattered at all.

That feeling.


It is a phrase, a feeling, instantly understood and sympathized with; so often we experience that feeling because it is most often caused by something insignificant, a transient apocalypse. Your favorite baseball team, for example, losing a championship game in extra innings (they were supposed to go all the way this year!); those blue and red lights flashing, indicating that it is in your best interest to pull over (Me? Not again. I do not have the time or the funds to deal with this ticket); opening the refrigerator door to find that last slice of Uncle Lou’s homemade cheesecake (which you had definitely claimed as yours the night before) is gone; the waiting (and waiting and waiting) for a response from the boy to whom you’ve completely exposed yourself, body and soul, as you reason with yourself why you are too insignificant for him; the realization that you’ve misplaced—you’ve in fact lost—a favorite belonging, perhaps a piece of clothing, perhaps a favorite cardigan.

The particular misplacement of a cardigan creates, arguably, the worst abdominal pitfall, because there is no one else that can possibly be blamed besides you and your damned forgetfulness. Honestly, it’s a cardigan, how hard could it be to hold on to? And shouldn’t you have been wearing it, anyways? That is what you bought it for. You’re so damned absent minded.

It really could be anywhere by now. It’s been days since you lost it—and in New York City? How does your absent minded self even survive in the city? First you forget the cardigan, next it’s the keys to your apartment, your wallet…

But your feelings! Let us consider your feelings as you sit here wallowing in the misery of that feeling. It really was [still is] a lovely cardigan (in fact, you could probably buy another one right now, $29.99 at The Gap). It fit perfectly: loose and breezy enough to achieve the “I don’t really care if I look good to you because I am comfortable” look, but still a classy and sophisticated cardigan. And taste, feel the joy of a creamsicle-infused summer through the pale threads of orange-and-white horizontal stripes! Of course, the white lines were the thicker of the two colors; it would be a bit outrageous to have a predominantly orange cardigan.

I know, I know nothing could ever replace that cardigan (not even that same one, in the shop window, right there). You had owned it for only three days and already a piece of thread on the cuff of the right sleeve hung loose, already faint pit stains had formed from walking in it from Union Square to the Guggenheim in a single day – the kind of walk that forms a connection between a girl and the threads of her cardigan, to contest the chasm which forms between her feet and her footwear.

The cardigan was your own, bought with your money, during your first taste of independent living. There are artists with their laboriously created, should-really-be-displayed-in-a-museum masterpieces…and there is you and your worn-in cardigan.


Rather, there is you and, somewhere in this city, there is your worn-in cardigan….


Is that feeling gone now? Does remembering the cardigan’s form, the days you spent in it, help to alleviate the pain? I’ll bet it could be in countless coffee shops across the city, maybe lying on the floor, or placed ever so carefully on the curved back of a scratched up wooden chair…


            “Excuse me, Miss, is this yours?” inquired the beautiful man with dark hair, quickly tousled and parted to the side that morning in front of his apartment’s dirty bathroom window. His eyes, of the deepest blue and insufferably penetrating, sought a response from the wisp of a woman seated in an overstuffed chair nearby. His strong, tan hands offered up a wrinkled creamsicle-orange and white striped cardigan to the lady in waiting, and he repeated,

           “Miss? Did you drop this?”

           Blushing, and smiling politely, she shakes her head. 

          "No, someone else must have left it here.”

           “Oh, I’m sorry to bother you then.” Movie Star Man flashes his movie star smile, then turns to walk away, his broad, muscular shoulders smoothly rotating away from her as she watches him turn, turn…

            “Turn it in, maybe?” she calls to his back.

            He quickly restores his gaze to the woman, who was not so much of a wisp herself, but more so in her mannerisms and appearance. She flicks long, thin, straw-like hair away form her eyes with a fragile and bracelet-bangled arm protruding out of a loose white t-shirt, and repeats her suggestion with the accompaniment of a faint smile, downturned eyes, and a single note of laughter.

           “I said that maybe we should turn it in at the register, in case whoever lost the sweater comes back looking for it.” Gaze shifts upwards to Movie Star Man.

            This same upwards shift of her gaze will be repeated by Wispy Woman throughout the following years, although her eyes’ timorous nature will have since been replaced by soft-spoken adoration, four years later, as she stands on the altar across from Movie Star Man. They are madly in love.

 

Oh, you don’t depend on love? I suppose someone attached to a cardigan above all else isn’t really the most romantic sort...well, hadn’t you mentioned that, by chance, it might be in the fitting room of a boutique you had stopped in? I know, I know, it’s so hard to recall the names of these shops, when there are thousands of them scattered every which way on these streets, and each one has some exotic name…


            Lydia swept the wooden floor of Adalia’s, the shop in which she worked, just as she had at 7:30 in the morning before opening, and just as she had at 1:00, after a half hour lunch break.  It was now 6:12 pm, and she was hoping to make a dinner reservation set for 7. A friend of hers wanted to introduce her to someone who knew someone who worked for a known fashion magazine. Not that Lydia was hoping to gain anything from the new acquaintance, of course, it just…might be interesting to talk about what circulates through the fashion world. She frequently checked the time on her watch as she swept, while her boss flicked through hanging clothes, re-racking dresses. Her request, “Ms. Helks, would it be okay for me to clock out at 6:30? I’ve swept and dusted and organized the receipts,” had elicited a you-can’t-leave-work-on-your-own-terms-just-to-make-your-life-the-least-bit-more-convenient response, only phrased,

             “Just look at the dressing rooms one more time, dear. Undesirable fitting rooms create undesirable clothes.”

              Ms. Helks readjusted the corners of her glasses and pursed her lips, never moving her eyes from the clothes rack to Lydia.

             Faithfully following orders, Lydia peered into the first spotless room, then the second. Crumpled and tiny in the corner, sulking, almost, with neglect, was a sweater. Lydia picked it up, flapped it once, twice, hard through the air to smooth the wrinkles, and examined it. With her head cocked to the side and one eye-brow raised, Lydia conjured images of barely-there runway models strutting in this sort of tattered, worn-in, striped cardigan sweater. Vintage, grunge, garbage-chic.

             Returning to her present state of affairs, Lydia exits the fitting room. “All clear, except for this,” she says, handing over the dirty cardigan to Mrs. Helks, who holds it, as if diseased, with her thumb and index fingers, and places it next to the cash register. Lydia exits the shop, her mind focused on an outfit she was formulating, to be transferred to her fashion sketch pads at home. In recounting her brilliant outfit ideas at dinner that evening (for which she was only eleven minutes late, incidentally), Lydia seized the attention and interest of the friend of the friend of the fashion magazine employee. The friend of the friend of the assistant editor of the magazine, to be more precise. It felt good, for once, to be a floor sweeper, possessing nothing less than keen eyes, a sharp mind, and a bright future in the fashion world.


Do you ever wonder what became of that leaf—tinged golden, which fell from the longest bough of the third largest tree in your yard last September (you gazed, sight without thought, from your front steps, with car keys clenched in left and coffee mug positioned in right)—? Or the banana peel you threw out yesterday with your lunch, or your parents’ romance, or your fourth-grade book report on Black Beauty, or the cocoa-colored stuffed bear with the red bow your aunt bought you for your seventh birthday?


The first raindrop hit the surface of 3rd and 13th at approximately 2:47 yesterday afternoon, cutting short countless pool parties, barbeques, jogs, dog walks, picnics, park visits, and other such leisurely activities. Casualties of the rain included cardboard boxes, paper bags, junk mail; objects unwanted and unnecessary for anything important, and so were discarded on the side of the road. On the sidewalk of 3rd and 13th lay, with the day’s newspaper and several Styrofoam coffee cups, a cardigan. Soaked through thread by thread, it lay: abandoned, forgotten, lost; unwanted, unimportant. Eventually, as part of the ever-pressing need to beautify the city, the cardigan, a heaped, crumpled, melted mess of bruised orange and white, is disposed of among the mass of city waste, never again to be even considered, doted upon, draped over shoulders—never again to be loved, to have its existence ever known…because sometimes what is lost is, simply, lost.

 

You wrote, yesterday, a brief message. “I got another cardigan, don’t worry!” This is not a time for exclamation marks and brief light-hearted messages, crazy! Crazy. It was a brief, intense, love affair, not regrettable in the least, and filled solely with passion, solely with tender attachment and unwavering devotion.


It’s already slipped your hand, though.

It’s absented your mind, as if it never really mattered at all.


Liz Shand lives in Brooklyn and works at a publishing company. Eventually she aims to earn her PhD in English literature and research the connection between mental health and reading literature. Ideally she would live in the Scottish Highlands with a few good friends.

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