the smell of texas clothes

it started when the weather got unexpectedly hot and i had to dig out my summer clothing.

on saturday, december 6th, i flew back from texas to pennsylvania and on monday, december 8th, i started back to work full time.  tx is still hot into december.  pa is not.  my tx clothes went straight into the wash, then into storage. 

(for those who don’t know the story, i lived in texas from august to december to help take care of our daughter during/after bone marrow transplant)

i really didn’t think i needed a transition. l was mostly self-sufficient during the latter part of our stay in tx that i had little to do.  we were coming up on christmas and two college tuition payments in january. i’d lost income while in tx, so of course i wanted to get right back to work.  i thought going right back to work would serve as the transition. 

when i got the clothes out in may, they smelled like texas.  a mixture of mildew (houston is swampy like new orleans, not dusty like dallas), roach spray, hospital smell and bar-b-cue. 

i thought.  they probably just smelled like detergent.  the sight of them was jarring, kind of depressing.  they smelled like tx to me.  they reminded me of tx. 

i overwore them while i was there.  summer temperatures went on for too long. three and a half months, one large suitcase, one carry on. i remembered sitting in hospital rooms or clinic rooms with those clothes on, remembered looking at the sandals in november and wishing they were flats. 

i thought i had just put away summer clothes…apparently with a lot of feelings stuffed in the folds and pockets.  but, why are they depressing?  l is recovering spectacularly, our family has recovered from separation. we’re all moving ahead.  why are they depressing?

i guess i should toss them all out.  i still like a lot of them.  i’m replacing them one by one.  i figured out that people were ready to stop listening about tx before i was ready to stop talking about it.  i quit talking. 

so where is the place you pack stuff so unpleasant memories die off?

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