newyorker: And They Said It Would Never LastI haven’t worn the…


And They Said It Would Never Last

I haven’t worn the shirt since Sam died, though it continues to hang in my closet. Meanwhile, in my head, I can still hear Sam’s voice. I think about the things I’d like to tell him, and I imagine what he’d say in reply. This isn’t the same as if we were having a real conversation.

My choice to stop wearing the shirt feels logical, an absence that echoes, in its own small and inanimate way, the absence of Sam. But the choice might have a less poetic explanation, which is that I think I happened to wear the shirt the day Sam died. I learned of his death via text, while I was at the grocery store. That night, my husband and I were scheduled to eat dinner at a restaurant with another couple we liked but didn’t know well. We went ahead with the dinner, and I didn’t mention Sam.

Recently, I asked my husband if he remembers whether I had on the shirt that night, and he said he doesn’t. Then I asked if he thinks it’s strange that I haven’t worn it since Sam died. He said no. “There’s so much you can’t control,” he said. “But you can control what you wear.”

Read Curtis Sittenfeld’s essay on the H&M shirt that seemingly lasted forever.

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