I’m doomed to live in only cold places on account of how many sweaters I have— Been given mostly. As I clean out my room or pack it I move windows of clothes open to reveal old or new or nice sweaters of varying wear and cleanliness. Three white sweaters, clean, have stayed in a row in this closet. At least I was self-aware enough not to wear them. Mom always said that clothes should never limit a day’s activities and that’s why she’s a good mom.
She’s also a good mom because she got me on coffee. That’s the one thing she’ll always pay for— Probably because it’s the one thing we’ll always have in common. Walking down cold Boston streets in some sweater or another, I’ll text her Mom. It’s urgent. and she’ll respond with an email from Starbucks, or Peet’s more recently, addressed to Princess or My needy daughter. She loves that stuff—Talking like I’m horribly spoiled. Not that I’m far from it. Not that I’d acknowledge it if I was. But to my defense: It’s the right kind of spoiled to have enough clothes to get everything dirty. Thank goodness I never had the little sister I asked for; the kid would look homeless with the tatters of hand-me-downs she’d get. Especially if I got them first from my older brother. Dad’s still sweetly under the impression that I’ll figure out how to be delicate soon enough— he sends me things with thin chains, recommended to him by a sales representative who looks around my age. The white sweaters were from him.
I unhook a bleached, fluffy Patagonia (an item clearly designed as a compromise to the all-outdoors-everything vibe sweated out by the Vermont natives in their magazines). It’s soft, and I’m an adult after all, so I fold it and place it on the sweater pile, placing it an inch now taller than the blue jeans/running leggings/sweatpants pile. The t-shirt pile has been consumed by the long-sleeved pile (which, to be honest, shares a fair amount of characteristics with the sweater pile).
They’re all starting to lean, anyways. I start to wonder why I even bother with these classifications: They’ll all be in a pile in Cambridge, just as they all were here. I’ll pretend to have a semblance of a system for the first week back at school, and then let everything stack into its native slouch on my desk chair. I’m wearing a new cowl-neck (a classic margin example of a warm fuzzy sweater that is too light for an under layer). The sleeves are too tight to roll up, and because the winter sun has brought my basement room to a boil, I decide to slip it off and place it on the sweater pile. The long-sleeved pile. The long-sleeved pile.
I like cold places, anyways. Places like Colorado and Massachusetts, where the weather is worth talking about and people learn about dressing in layers. That’s why that cowl-neck isn’t a sweater— you need layers to make it in to that puffy pile. But I’m thoroughly uninterested in packing, and a nice boy has put something or other in the microwave— or turned the microwave on, now that I think about it, because we forgot that there was pizza in there for breakfast.
I put on the fuzzy white sweater, knowing full well that it will be splattered with pizza sauce just yet, and leave the piles for later.