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To My Black Sweater

You are one of a kind.

You mask sweat lines like none of your business, you are wearable with every color*, you match my best skirt and my crummiest jeans, you are cool in the summer and warm in the winter, you have a subtle yet classic ribbed knit and best of all, you make me feel confident and pretty.

Together, we’ve traveled internationally and gone grocery shopping. Together, we’ve eaten too many cookies and baked bread and signed an apartment rental agreement and gotten a job and hiked slippery muddy trails and I’m pretty sure I wore you while sitting in at least six different doctor’s offices, all of which were insanely chilly.

When my brother was a wee child, he had a red fleece blanket. Day in and day out, my brother carried his blanky, his thumb threaded through the care tag on one corner. It followed him to the store, to grandma and grandpa’s, to New York City. It probably also accompanied him to the bathroom, I can’t quite remember.

This blanky was a staple of every one of my brother’s outfits for years. Eventually, though, he outgrew it and moved on to brighter better bushier pastures (a stuffed German Shepard with two-toned glass eyes and knit feet). An era was over. The edges of the blanky had frayed into a shabby fringe, the red had turned to a stained brown, the tag had practically disintegrated. This blanky had been very loved.

Everybody needs their own blanky. Mine is you, my black sweater.

I realized something the other day: you’re worn out. There are clots of nap in tiny-okay, not very tiny-balls all over, ‘fashionably loose’ has become ‘shapelessly baggy’ and an unidentifiable foreign object has stained itself permanently on your left sleeve.

An era has ended. Sure, it sounds melodramatic, but it’s the truth. You have been with me as I’ve changed from skinny-shy-girl to skinny-shy-woman.

You’re going to go on the right-middle shelf of my closet, next to my impressively extensive Christmas ornament collection, because I don’t have the heart to give you to Goodwill (and because Goodwill probably would toss you anyway).

In a few days, I’ll probably go shopping for your replacement. I’ll stand in front of the dressing room mirror and lament that black sweaters just aren’t the same anymore. Maybe, if I’m feeling brave, I’ll admit that nothing is the same anymore. Being brave is hard though, so then I’ll twirl around some more-the panels of mirrors in dressing rooms are just so memorizing.

I probably won’t purchase your replacement for a while. Your arms are big arms to fill (I\’d apologize for the modified cliche, but I know you’ve heard worse before). And, though I may be ready to let one era of my life end, I’m not quite ready for the next era to begin.

Thank you for everything. We’ve had some good times together, haven’t we?

Katie Hansen

*well, navy blue clashes, but that’s all navy’s fault.

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