Slip it On

January 18, 2011
By caitmck BRONZE, Battle Creek, Michigan
caitmck BRONZE, Battle Creek, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It was inevitable that it would come to this moment where I lose myself completely, but I couldn’t turn away from the beauty of another life as I stepped away from the dead that I had lived. I guess in some ways I should have known that I would choose my alternate personality to the one that my parents had equipped within me, simply because it would be the finale of the years I spent pretending to be someone I’m not. I tried everything to subdue myself, I stayed away from the shirt that brought it on, but the more it sat in my closet, beckoning me, the more I wanted to feel its fabric against my heated skin. It was midnight black and had a slight chill to it. It seemed to have a heartbeat of its own and I adored it, even though I couldn’t tell you why.

My mother questioned me daily about my desires for life after college, what the hell I was going to do with the pointless degree I was so close to earning. Moments like these brought the shirt to mind and I could almost feel it on my skin as she scorned and questioned and abused my lifestyle. It wanted me to wear it just like I needed to wear it. My mother wouldn’t understand the transition I would undergo if I gave into the temptation of wearing the high cotton, low cut black shirt. She would think I lost my mind, and quite possibly I might be.

I love the degree that I’ve chosen, even if my mother does not. I chose it on a night when the heartbeat of the shirt kept my mind awake. I wanted, more than anything, to be something daring, something my conservative mother would not agree with. I started with preaching my liberal beliefs, and then transferred into classes on the rights of women. Next, I decided this would not be enough, so I continued to take classes on political science, anthropology, and law; all things my mother disagreed with, which was good, because the shirt continued to beat louder.

I had three weeks until my college career was over and planned to make use of each minute before I finally gave into temptation and slipped the garment over my body, letting the influence and its heartbeat over take me. I couldn’t give in now, I needed a clear mind, but the desire was growing stronger and I wouldn’t be able to hold out much longer. But for now I had to remain the daughter my mother had molded me to be so that she wouldn’t ruin what I had worked so hard to create for myself. I needed to be different than what she wanted me to be, just for my own sanity. I was so tired of being just like her; cryptic, critical, close minded. When I first heard the beat of the shirt and followed the sound to my own closet, I knew I had a chance to be different. It was, without question, the highlight of my life.

As the days draw closer, I find myself planning how I will address the shirt. Will I slip it on without a care? Will I ease into it, letting its heartbeat coincide with my own? Will it fit me, will I be able to keep up with it, will it scare me? I’m nervous, but the shirt is still calling to me, so I know I’m on the right track. In recent days I hear it pulse louder whenever my mother snickers at the way I, in her words, glorify the trash that I believe in. Only a few more days and I’ll be done! With a diploma, a reason o leave, and the shirt in hand I’ll be ready to move on.

I can hear my mother in her bedroom readying herself for the ceremony today, but I sit on my bed and contemplate the timeline of the afternoon. I need to make a quick exit in order to avoid her, to be gone forever. I haven’t yet packed the shirt because today it beats loud as my heartbeat, fast and scared. It’s just as ready as I am to be rid of this house and hostility. We’re going to combine perfectly, never leaving each other’s side.

I don’t remember putting the shirt into my shoulder bag, but I must have since I feel its heat against my back. This is as close as we’ve ever been that I can almost see the future of the two of us. Mother sits in her assigned seat as I walk across the stage, barely missing her stare. I almost cry, but not for my college career to be over, but to finally slide into the fabric that would set me free from the harassment that was mother. I can finally be free and not worry about the choices I’m making.

I take the necessary pictures, fake the needed smile, and give my mother her final hug. I almost can’t breathe from the excitement that is pulsing out of me, I run to the car to beat my mother home. I skip stairs to reach the bedroom that I’ve sat with misery for years, and now I can finally transform into another being entirely; my mother won’t even be able to recognize me. I spot the shirt and I swear it smiles towards me as it senses that I will finally put it to use. It wants to turn me into someone new and I embrace this a stride towards it, almost sobbing with relief. I hold the fabric and sigh as it purrs to me with its heated pulse. I slip out of my clothing, not wanting anything to obscure the feeling of the thread against my skin, transforming me into what I’ve always wanted to be. I take a deep breath, I slip it over my head, thanking every fiber in it for what it’s allowing me to become.

The author's comments:
This piece was written to show sybolism. The shirt represents a new life for the girl in the story because she needs an escape from an overbearing mother.

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