The Girl in the Yellow Shirt

A t-shirt made me irrationally happy this weekend.

Thing is, it wasn’t even mine…though it is now.  That is why I am so happy. This t-shirt, which was briefly in my possession back when I was in college, is now mine to keep.  I feel like Linus, reunited with his blanket.  I cannot explain the warmth and happiness, but I am unspeakably happy.

Funny thing is, I shouldn’t like this shirt to begin with.  First of all, it is yellow, a color that is completely absent from my wardrobe.  Like other gingers, yellow tends to make me look jaundiced, like my liver is in trouble.  However, this was a magic yellow t-shirt.  Similarly to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ magical jeans, this yellow t-shirt complimented my complexion in a way no other yellow thing could.

Second of all, this shirt is huge, as it is a guy’s t-shirt.  It is the kind of shirt you only wear to the gym or around the house.

Finally, it isn’t really all that special. It is one of those Urban Outfitters sorts of shirts that reads “Copacabana Beach” in black writing with a green graphic skyline.  I have never been to Copacabana Beach, for what it is worth.  When I first became enamored with the shirt, I wasn’t even sure if it was a real place or not.

Yet, in college, all I wanted to do was wear this stupid t-shirt.  I can’t remember why I borrowed it from my friend Vince one day. I think it may have been a night of drinking where I elected to crash on the couch and got the t-shirt as something to sleep in.    

Six months passed and I did nothing of the sort. At first, I pretended to forget about it.  Then, I got brazen. I would wear it out to the movies with him, citing the impossibility of giving it back as it was literally the shirt on my back.  I can’t recall the circumstances, but I think the only way Vince got it back was by stealing it out of my dirty clothes hamper one afternoon.  My wondrous yellow shirt was gone.

I think part of the reason I just wouldn’t give the shirt back was because I enjoyed having a guy’s shirt to wear.  I’ve always been a sucker for the girl in her boyfriend’s button down as a night shirt.  I have always stolen boyfriend’s shirts to wear as my own, which explains why there are many family photos of me from Christmas break freshman year of college sporting a Tool t-shirt. While Vince remains to this day my most platonic of male friends, the lure of a dude’s shirt during a time I was single and all my friends had very serious boyfriends (and boyfriend t-shirts) was too much and I simply had to have it, even if there was no sentimental romantic value to it.

Over the years though, this old shirt did develop sentimental value.  All future nights on the couch, this shirt was my shirt, no questions asked, though I was required to fork it back over in the morning.  Whenever Vince wore it himself, I would complement him on his attire.  Numerous conversations were had about the stupidest of stupid Urban Outfitters t-shirts.

Then, I moved away from Southern California in 2006 and Vince and I didn’t see each other nearly as much for a few years.  Like a neglected plaything from Toy Story, we forgot about the old Copacabana Beach shirt.  In fact, it was maybe six months ago that I brought the old shirt up in the midst of a phone conversation.  Vince was shocked to learn I did not have it in my possession, as he convinced himself a year prior he had given it to me, knowing I would want it more than he did.

I was immediately excited to hear he was willing to give me the shirt, then suddenly concerned he may have given it away by accident.  Thankfully, he checked his drawers and Old Yellow was still there.

So, this weekend when I was over there for breakfast, I did what any normal person would do: I refused to leave until the shirt was in my possession.  Now, I am home in bed in Vegas, typing away on this blog in the comfort of my new t-shirt and I already have big, big plans for my old friend.

I have a period of recovery for a minor health thing on the horizon and, if this yellow shirt can’t make me look jaundiced, maybe its magical powers can make me feel better faster.  I plan to spend the weekend in bed in this t-shirt, taking comfort in its comfort and in the memories.  It started out as just a shirt, but now it is sentimental in spite of itself.  It wasn’t supposed to be a gift, it wasn’t supposed to be a gesture, it was just supposed to be something to sleep in. It still is, but now it is what I always wanted it to be in the first place too—a shirt from a guy I really care about.  Its cheesiness makes it all the better too, as he is the kind of guy who won’t let you get sentimental, will mock you for being hokey and emotional, and will never let things get too serious.  It is the perfect shirt for a recovery. It is the perfect shirt, period.

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