Opening the bag up, a familiar musty smell hits my nose. Stronger this time, as years have gone by now without having opened it. Not a terrible smell, just stronger than before.
There had always been a slight smell, even in the early days. I liked to imagine that smell was a build up off life. A life that had seen years and years of fun nights out and cold winters. Parties that ended days after they began. Mornings spent in bustling coffee shops, weekends in smoky darkened bars listening to sultry singers and political arguments.
This is the life I imagined my coat to have had before I found her.
I nearly didn’t find her though. I almost missed her altogether. A rushed weekend train to Amsterdam, a drizzly grey afternoon that was sneaking into a winter’s night. A clunking stuffed overnight backpack hitting into ready to go home vendors. Then suddenly I saw her, fluffy cuff sticking out, whispering to me to save her from a sea of old military jackets.
I tried her on. A good fit. Handed over some notes and away I went with a spring in my step and a coat on my back.
Time ticked on. The quiet of walking through soft German snow, the laughter of a noisy English pub evening, the intensity of long serious Italian conversations over coffees, and also teary farewells- the coat was there. I felt good in it and it suited my life at that point.
Back to Australia and another chapter of my life began in Sydney. With warmer weathers, balmy winters and softly falling snow just a distant memory. The coat got packed away. Promises of a triumphant return never eventuated, and slowly the packed away bag gathered just a little more dust.
Why was I clinging on to the coat? Was it because I really loved it, and thought I would sincerely wear it again if we ever moved to a colder climate? Or was I simply clinging on to it, as there were so many fun happy memories attached to it, (both of my own and imagined from another.) I was older, greyer and certainly plumper than when I first wore the coat, would wearing it still feel the same as it once had?
I couldn’t decide, and time carried on. The dust gathered, until finally something changed. A whispered change, just like the first whisper of when I saw that fluffy cuff.
It was time. Time to pass on that coat with the happy times sewn into its sleeves… to someone else.
I hope someone else can sense the good times that were had in it.