Today I took all of my clothes out of my closet and dumped them in a pile on the floor of my bedroom. They are still there, layers of dresses, shirts, winter coats, piled four feet high against the bedroom wall, like snow in the Canadian Prairie against an orange snow fence. Layers of my life to peel away, try on, and see it they will be allowed back into my closet, into my life.
School starts next week, and I have schedules to finish writing, lesson plans to complete. I will work on those tomorrow. Today was the day to purge, to edit my clothes. My closet was like a rough draft. Full of verbs, and nouns and action words. Clothes to walk, move fast, sweat, look pretty, keep me warm. The closet was full of useless words; polyester, small, extra-large, lime green. Some of the clothes are like the word ” that” in a sentence, unnecessary, redundant, Edit the polyester dress that smothers my skin when I wear it, like plastic wrap on leftovers. Only hang up what I like. What I need.
I will keep the hat my father sewed out of a beaver pelt that he had trapped. I will keep the crystal necklace that was given to my mother by a boy when she was a girl. I will keep a 100% cotton scarf I bought in Japan the last day I walked there in 1990. I will keep my baby shoe that my dad sprayed with silver paint when I was three. I only have one shoe. The other shoe fell out the window of my room above the used furniture store into the alley in 1982 in Calgary, Alberta. I can hear the crunch of gravel as a car drove through the alley as the shoe fell. The shoe was not there when I walked down the fire escape to retrieve it. Where is my shoe?
I will keep the black bear skin that I shot and skinned in 1983 in Northern Alberta at the Oil refinery camp where I worked as a maid with my Aunt who was the cook.
My closet shall become a short sentence. Or maybe a short paragraph. Just enough clothes to wear, and enough memories to fill the shelves.