The Scientist’s Shirt
There are some little love stories that you never forget.
I woke up with a hangover. My house was a mess. Wine bottles everywhere. That was a nice little party last night, hey?
I put my apron on at 9am to wash the dishes. As I rolled up my sleeves, I was glad I chose this shirt, because the long sleeves have an ingenious little button and a cord, so that the sleeves can be pinned up. It’s very convenient.
It isn’t really my shirt.
It belonged to a childhood friend of my old landlord. My landlord grew up in another country, and this old friend came to for a visit. The friend was a scientist, and he was ruggedly handsome and quietly unaware of his desirability. He was sweet and warm and spoke with ease. He chatted with me in the kitchen one night while I was cooking.
My landlord made an insinuation that he liked me. I was flattered and surprised that someone so much older and wiser would be interested in me. Of course I liked him back. Those energetic connections are always mutual, even when not acted upon.
The problem was, I had a boyfriend.
I didn’t even really like my boyfriend. I just kind of needed him. So I didn’t tell the scientist that I was seeing someone. It never came up, and he was politely unpresumptuous. Our tension held in the air for three days, until my boyfriend came over to take me out to dinner.
It was our six month anniversary. So we got dressed up and opened a bottle of wine before going out to dinner. I had to introduce the scientist to the boyfriend. He was friendly and warm and to my relief and disappointment, no one could detect any harbored jealousy on his part.
We had a few more good chats. We smoked a cigarette together. He went traveling around the country for a few weeks, and came back to stay in the house for two nights before returning home.
He arranged all of this things, did his laundry and packed. The laundry room was near my room, and my damp clothes were also hanging on the drying rack, intermingled with his.
He left early in the morning and didn’t say goodbye. That was fine with me, I hate goodbyes.
I went to take down my dry laundry the day after he left. I couldn’t find my grey t-shirt anywhere. What I found in its place was a long-sleeved thick t-shirt, with an ingenious pulley to hold the sleeves rolled at 3/4 length.
I’ve kept it ever since. It’s one of my favorite shirts. I think of him whenever I wear it. It gives me a nice feeling when I wash all of last night’s dishes.