I threw out my favourite shirt this weekend. It was a thick, wooly, green and brown checked affair that I'd had since I was a teenager.
Below is a PARTICULARLY unflattering photo of me wearing said shirt in 1996, taken by a former colleague and linked to on Facebook (yet another reason to hate that site). Seriously, I've posted some terrible, terrible, NSFW things on this blog in my time, but this is definitely the most disturbing.
And yet, as much as I hate that photo, I can't help but feel a swelling in my heart and a weight behind my eyes as I look upon it now... because I'm wearing my favourite shirt.
That shirt and me, we went through so much together. As the years went by, it became my official "winter walking" shirt. I'd come home from work, change out of my work clothes, put on that shirt (over whatever T-shirt / undershirt I'd been wearing all day) then head off up into the hills. Whatever the weather. I'd wear a coat too, but even if it was just a kagool or an anorak, I wouldn't ever feel the cold. Because that shirt was THICK. It was WARM. It was like a wraparound security blanket. It was like a hug from an old friend, and during its prime, I didn't have many friends - certainly none that would be prepared to give me a hug. It made me feel comfortable. It made me feel a little less alone in this vast, cold, uncaring universe.
But nothing lasts forever. After 20 plus years, that shirt was little more than rags. I'd patched up the elbows, resewn the buttons, ironed out the creases so many times... there wasn't anything left holding it together. I'd worn it out. For the last year or so its remnants have hung in my wardrobe like a spectral tatterdemalion, unwearable but unthrow-out-able too. But there comes a time when you have to switch off the life support and say goodbye. No charity shop would have wanted it, so with heavy heart I consigned it to the wheely bin. Guilt, grief, regret... all these would follow.
Goodbye, old shirt. Thanks for the memories. Have a Haircut 100 song on me...