“Where are your Jammies?”
“In the top drawer.”
“Can I see em? Can I open your drawer and see em?” I asked through the door.
This was tonight. They were bundled in a grey mothy ball in the corner, under some new skinny jeans and a bra. I unfurled them and held them up to the light. They were barely the white onesie with pink and blue bears they’d once been. They are now an almost green raggedy rag that smelled of mildew dust and worse.
I needed to see them and remember. Maybe briefly she’d actually worn them with legs, perhaps at age five, but when she outgrew them, she merely wore the arms and let the legs trail behind like tails. She grew – six, seven, nine years old…. even as the “jammie” arms crept past her elbows and up to hug her shoulders and she worried away the sleeves with a habitual little lip nuzzling, she continued to wear them. She wore them into pre-teen- hood so far we contemplated stealing them, burning them, just so as not to embarass her on sleepovers. May as well have tried to burn Anne Franks diary. The Jammies were her. Grandma tried to convince her to sew them into a quilt. No. If she couldn’t find her jammies, there were screams and cries… her jammies were her blanket, teddy bear, they were everything.
Why did we fret so hard about getting her to give them up? What were we rushing her for?
Then one night she didn’t wear them. One night without explanation they went into the drawer. Eight years, every night- then mothballs. Sleeping in sweats and Hollister like everyone else.
I washed them in a sink tonite with clorox, trying to get something back, trying to get her back.