An armload of laundry full of torn patches and holes; threadbare and stained from the long battle. The kind of encumbrance one carries alone because of the rank stink of ditch water and mourning. Detritus rags that cause people to not peer too closely for the real fear of what they would surely see clinging to its threads and hems. But, for the clothes on my back that pile of holes I was carrying was all that I had. A weary burden of grief and tatters.
Without luxury of a closet or attic for which to abandon or hide them, I embraced and washed every piece of that sad mess. The big pieces and the small ones too. Dunked and scrubbed the grime and smell from them. Scrubbed with vigor until both my fingers and heart were raw. Clipped the stray threads, darned the holes, mended gaping rips and hung them out in the breeze and bright sunshine until they had no power left to invoke the darkness.
It took much longer than expected but at the end I lovingly ironed them all and tidily folded each of them, packed them in a portmanteau and left them there on the side of the road. Gratefully relieved of my burden.
40 years later:
"Look what I have!" he exclaimed excitedly as he ran up behind me; the bag gaping open and spilling contents into the dirt, trampling them under his clumsy feet as he hurried. "I remember this one. I want see you try it on again" he plead as he gleefully retrieved it from the ground, holding it up to me to see if it fit. "You keep them if you like them" I said. "Oh look! Here's another one." he said as he grinned.
"Keep it" I said. "Oh, and stuff you!"