Shortly after I met him he took a trip to London with his roommate to visit his roommate’s girlfriend where, I later found out, he had a long likely drunken discussion about me. In this discussion he confessed to her that I had broken down the walls he puts around himself and made some reference to the Great Wall of China. I think he meant the Berlin Wall as the Great Wall is still standing but had entered cocktail consumption confusion. Apparently there were aggressive hand gestures to demonstrate the wall coming down.
When he returned from London, he brought me a present –a scarf. Barely able to contain my excitement for his return home, I rushed over to his apartment where he presented the scarf. I tried to act happy but not overly happy, appropriately mask my surprise and still appear appreciative. We went to dinner where we attempted to eat Japanese food but just stared at each other the entire time. I remember concentrating on picturing his stories in my mind, trying desperately to pay attention while subtly hoping he would get the check so we could go home. I always was the more sexual of the two of us.
In the morning I left happy and hopeful, sporting my special new scarf. In fact, I wore that scarf until it really was too warm for a scarf. A friend said to me one day, “How may times are you going to wear that stupid scarf? I’m going to have to tell him to buy you something else. I’m tired of seeing that thing.” When I went to spend time with some friends in Europe I purposely took the scarf off for pictures, so he wouldn’t think I kept it on the whole trip. Towards the latter half of the trip it was too warm for a scarf, so I toted it around in my bag. Noticing the reason for said scarf attachment, my friend said, “He needs to buy you a necklace or something.” My friends all think alike. It’s a cool scarf; not one I would’ve chosen, but when I wore it I felt wrapped in his consistent thoughtfulness and remembered his soft, curious gaze.
Even now, in 86 degree weather, I keep thinking of that scarf. I almost wish it were cold again so I could wear it in his absence… now that he won’t know. With the rest of winter, the scarf is packed away, and I have just memories of the scarf days. Next winter I won’t wear it as I’ll likely have a new scarf, but also because it reminds me of him – someone I never really reached, someone far away. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so attached to the stupid scarf if I had ever really had him. Or maybe I was so attached to it because I did have him, if for a very short time.
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