This is my birthday coat. It is by Prada, and someone once described it as being as if fashioned from the skins of green babies. Which is fabulously creepy, but accurate.
I bought it for myself when I turned 30. Tomorrow, I will be 34. When I first owned it, I was rather afraid of it. It was so soft, so buttery, so perfect and unmarked, like a second-skin expanse of silky froglike untouchableness, a dew-strewn lawn that no-one has stepped on yet. It hung in my wardrobe a lot. Every now and then it saw daylight but most of the time it lived in the dimly lit liminal world of things invoking the pleasure of mere possession.
I got over it.
Now it is a coat of history, like a face. It is battered and stained and darkened and wrinkled. Its cuffs are blackened and smudged, because when I am nervous I fold up my hand like a jackknife and grip my sleeves. The buttons are burnished not because they've been buttoned but by hours of idle fiddling, the collar a patinated tideline of sweat, perfume and sunscreen, the sleeves a map of felt-tip stains, mysterious drip-shaped dark spots, the creased and grooved crevasse topography of over-and-over elbow-crookings. On the right shoulder there is an old, round, chalky, frilled watermark made by Pluvialis' tears. I don't remember why she was crying, but I remember putting my arms around her. She is tall, and I am short, and her chin rested on my shoulder. A puddle, full of minerals like water running through limestone.
Good morning, coat. I will tell your history again next year.
Reaching for the sky
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