Trip Start Mar 02, 2009
90Trip End Aug 20, 2009
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Companionship against the cold: the end of an era and death of a dear friend
People who know me are familiar with my black coat. It's the one I've worn more often than not on cold days for the past decade. This particular coat has a rather good story behind it (as histories of garments go) and has lived a life of excitement.
Having wrapped itself around many shoulders, my relationship with the coat began in early high school when the onset of inward and upward physical changes led to its presentation as a gift.
The design is simple -- though far from dull -- and has created a sort of timeless style within itself. It somehow manages to complement a wide range of outfits and is dynamic enough to be casual or formal. Thus, the coat has served me well on countless occasions in a wide range of situations.
It's also proven itself as a dependable sidekick and accompanied me on several trips. In these travels, it's visited New York, Philly, D.C. and Chicago. It's seen both coasts, having held me on chilly mornings in Bar Harbor, Maine and La Push, Washington. It's been to Canada twice and watched night creep over Niagara Falls and the Straight of Georgia with me.
The bottom has ripped out and been tacked time and again, the pockets worn so they no longer contain things with certainty and the material holding the buttons weak from years of stress.
This past October, the bottom finally ripped to the point that it could not be patched. The coat could no longer conceal its age.
Then, in November, one of the buttons finally gave out. The middle of three. The one most often used. It soon became apparent that my time with the coat would not last forever.
In February, I made the decision to let it travel across the Atlantic with me, realizing what could -- and probably would -- take place in the process.
Near the end of March, the inevitable transpired and the coat took a turn for the worse: A large seam running along the back of the right sleeve gave out.
The coat was no longer strong enough to leave the security of a hanger. And so it was that I had to entrust it to the care of an IKEA wardrobe.
Tonight, after almost a five month stay in the wardrobe, I realized what I've been doing isn't fair. I've been prolonging something that should've happened long ago out of nothing more than selfishness.
I knew what had to be done.
I took out the coat, put it on and played Dean Martin's Ain't That A Kick in the Head.
The two of us danced around the room one last time.
The song ended and suddenly, it was all over. The coat was no longer and I found myself alone in a room with only a black piece of wool draped about me.
Before pulling it off, I reached into the pockets and discovered something in my right hand. The button. The middle of three. The one most often used.
I held it tight and smiled.
It was a good coat.