The Sweatshirts


I sit in my friend’s chair, stored in my basement, alone, contemplating my past and my future, looking at two worlds collided. Above g’s stored items, my husband’s hats hang from nails in the joist. They seem out of place. I have mentally marked off this area for my friend’s life. The hats do not belong there so I take them down to move them and turn to spot my husband’s sweatshirts, exactly where he left them almost two years ago. I grab them, sit down in this chair, with the sweatshirts, and I breathe deeply trying to see if they still smell like him. For some reason I need to smell him again. There is ever so faint a smell and I close my eyes to picture him, walking on a cool morning. The image is not of the man who shot me, and it is a melancholy of loss I cannot explain. I remember loving him.

I have a conversation with him. Out loud. Asking why he made the choices he did. Telling him had he just treated me well, respectfully, held me as someone precious in his life that we would have been eternally happy. Holding his sweatshirts close to my face, I cry. I tell him about my friend.  Who he is. How I feel when I am with him. That he, M, had the chance to receive what I have to give, that I am sorry it could not have been him but it was his choice.

I think of these two men, my friend and my husband, so very different in most every way. I realize I am holding on to pieces of them for different reasons. One to reconcile the past, the other in hopes of a future. To sit in this chair brings great comfort, to hold the sweatshirts such immense pain. Remnants of these two very important men in my life.

G has moved, leaving it, us, unfinished. To put myself out there was a daring thing to do. I am astonished I even risked it, risked loving someone again. I do not regret it, though I sit here feeling a dual sense of loss. One simply the bitter sweetness of missed opportunity with someone who possesses qualities important in a partner, someone who has become important to me; the other a senseless act of selfishness and control. One feels no better or  worse than the other.

I try to see both are a gift, a chance to get it right this time. I try.

You are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.  Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.  Kahlil Gibran



About Lisette d. Johnson

Murder-Suicide Survivor, Mom, Writer, Speaker, Serial Volunteer in the Intimate Partner Violence and Sexual Assault Arena, Entrepreneur, &amp Friend. I survived, my kids survived, and I am here to tell the story.
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1 Response to The Sweatshirts

  1. Lynne says:

    Very intense. Reminds me of a recurring dream I used to have of basements. Later I found out that the basement might represent your subconscious. It was dark place that I was terrified to go to. It is interesting that you were sitting in the basement sorting out all of this painful stuff.

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