A Sweatshirt This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Fleecy and smooth: it waited on the shelf. It tumbled from its folds when I held it up to check its size. White cotton, soft and pleasant covered the expanse of the inside. I pulled it over my head. I searched for a mirror, then stood before it, and admired the sweatshirt's baggy comfort. I patted down my static locks.

I eyed the price tag and thought it considerable ... but then imagined the lifetime of wear. A surge of tingling hope arose; the outside label was the college of my choice. Would this purchase be more for comfort or prestige?

College sweatshirts are, indeed, an essential part of the "college process," I rationalized. It was like the final step in making the college decision, and the sweatshirt was rather comfortable. I glanced at the sizable price tag again and clutched the green bills in my pocket. I thought of the heavy college books that I poured over when I first began to search. I recalled touring many campuses in an attempt to narrow my choices. I winced at the late nights spent revising essays and compiling activity lists. I remembered gulping in hopes that all the necessary information was enclosed when I licked that envelope to be sent to the college. I had crossed my fingers ever since the applications left; please accept me, I prayed! I deserved a reward.

Then a figure waltzed behind me. I watched her reflection as she passed. She was sporting the matching pants to my shirt. Maybe she was applying here, too. No, she had a name tag; I guess she worked in the store. I glimpsed again at the price tag that now dangled at my cuff. This is nothing compared to the tuition, I grimaced. The application fee alone belittles the price of the sweatshirt. Into the mirror I stared once again and nodded. I crossed my hands in front of the shirt and lifted upward. Turning, I searched for the girl who had just passed; she was making her way to the cash register. I followed her. c

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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