By Emily Uduwana
Bargain hunting always gave me a thrill. Before I met you, my closet held more percentages than fabric–nothing below 30% off, most over 50%. On Saturdays, I liked to throw everything on my bed and separate the pieces into special sections: Barely Ripped, Slightly Stained, Just Off-Size. The left-overs became contestants in my own personal game show. I called it Bad Print or Dried Deodorant?When I met you, my closet began to change. I donated a stack of clearance camis to fit a new pair of suede flats, a waterproofing spray, a bottle of shoe cleaner. You made a scrapbook for our third anniversary. We paged through it together, reminiscing about rained-out dates and picnics overthrown by ants. When I came down the stairs for dinner that night, you beamed at the polka-dot sweater I’d chosen; you recognized it from our trip to the museum. You remembered things like that. I took our scrapbook home with me, studied the pictures in bed. There was the sunhat you almost lost at the pier, the t-shirt a seagull let loose on. During a visit to my father, you sparkled in a necklace passed down from your grandmother. But where were the clothes I’d worn? I looked from the scrapbook to my closet, searching for remnants of our last three years. I didn’t find many; the zipper on my pink dress broke a while back, and the yellow one shrunk in the wash. My jeans were torn to begin with–but they were 40% off!And then there were those suede flats.
They carried me to my brother’s wedding (and to his next one after that). They held it together after you trampled them in dance practice, and they cleaned up well for your sister’s graduation. I stared for a while at those suede shoes. I stared long enough that I tugged loose a thread hanging from my polka-dot sweater. As the arm unraveled, I ordered a new one online: Blue cotton sweater, Fully lined, Made to last.
Emily Uduwana is a poet and short fiction author based in Southern California, with recent publications in Ecletica Magazine, perhappened mag, and Rubbertop Review. She is currently pursuing a graduate degree in the history of the America West.