Looking Sharp

Here we all are so many years down the road,

Plaid Sport Coat

all those burned up dreams and daydreams and nightmares past my blurred windows, pale faces entreating us. What was behind that door? I never tried the knob, did you? We live in Dallas and Las Vegas and Seattle and Minneapolis, but mostly in the South because it’s easier on the bones and the sinuses. We’ve been so young so long, so smug we think it’s the Natural Order and we haven’t noticed how everything has changed. That old sport coat, the grey and black checkered one that was too big when I got it for a high school dance — my first sport coat not counting the blue blazer for First Communion, and my first dance or was it the last? I went with my mother and Leon to pick it out at Robert Hall on the traffic circle. That coat still fits, or I should say it fits now for the first time. I must have looked stupid in it. Thank you, Irene, for not laughing. You didn’t think I was as hip as I thought I was, but you let me believe it, and that got me through high school. It wasn’t until years later, when you were fucking your professor in Italy that I saw myself as I really looked in that jacket, stumbling through the clumsy dance steps my friend John taught me in the days before that dance, the magical dance, where I learned my place. I must have known it somewhere deep inside even then, but how Youth blinds us! Now here we all are, at our jobs, with our kids, on our vacations, in our Chinese shoes and our clothes from Target and Nordstrom and Macy’s, all of it fitting pretty good, no more getting things a little big to allow for growth spurts, and most of us still think we are pretty hip, pretty cool. We drop obscure references to the Easybeats and the dbs as if anybody cares, and some of us are still wearing that jacket, only now it actually fits for real, so Mom was right, I did grow into it, and I think I look pretty sharp just like I thought back then. It fits good enough I could wear it to my funeral.

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