I have a carefully folded tower of clothing sitting at the whitewashed doorway of my bedroom. It was marked for a second hand shop, after doing a closet purge once upon a time. That leaning tower has sat at the door much longer than I care to admit. Those garments that once covered me and shielded my nakedness for a certain time in life, were nearly destined for a new life in someone else's closet, and a quiet and safe corner of my memories.
Tomorrow morning though, I'm going to make a quilt. I'm not going shopping for remnants of fabric, or brightly coloured, pre-determined and perfectly cut squares. I am going to sew together the memories of my nearly passed on threads, and reposition them in my life. Those fibres after all, hold as much sentiment and reminiscence as any round edged memory. Seams may be frayed, and brilliance of colour may have faded through wear, love, and time, but the breadth of their value to me in those past moments cannot be measured. They, for a time, were a part of me.
There was a swirling September night when the the covering of innocence tore- and the world forever changed for my dearly kindred friend...and a family I love very deeply. The rawness stripped like the edge of an unguarded blade... the world was quieted and shouting all at once. The silence felt deafening, and the noise seemed sharply numbing. For a long time, those memories have served as a reminder...a blanket if you will, of just how quickly it can all change...the "it" being everything that is, and everything that life seemed to be headed towards.
That canopy came off. That shelter from the elements of this world seemingly blew away while the world slept. The less familiar our world became and becomes 17 years later, the more I try to piece together the remaining precious, dearly loved, closely worn memories of a boy who was incredible. Incredibly funny. Incredibly smart. So incredibly special... inextinguishable, and insurmountably loved.
The piecing together of what still remains physically here, feels right. My foot bears a tattoo memory of a childhood friend who left this world much too early. I took her hand written, left handed message in my grade 8 autograph book, and inked it on top of every right foot step in my life. I finally feel like she's really with me now that I can look down and see her name everyday. That outside marking of the 15 year old girl I carry in my heart, somehow acts as a small patch of mental fabric when it comes to the protection of my memories of her.
I'll carefully piece a dear friends faded, blue checked American Eagle shirt into my quilt- right down to the buttons, wrist cuffs and the label. My grandma's paisley kerchief will find its spot amongst the less sentimental pieces, and a pale green sweatshirt sent to me a lifetime and a heartbreak ago..they'll all become a part of my hopeful masterpiece.
The combined value of each memory stamped garment, will contribute to a covering of recognition, gratitude, and peace. After all, those I love are still very much with me...and what's left now still has the very real ability to warm me and speak softly alongside my listening heart,
"We're all around you. We'll hold shelter over you. Always".