The most beautiful sweater in the world

As the leaves fell from the trees and the wind turned cold and blustery each year, my mom would drag out her traditional Christmas sweater.

I used to borrow it from her, putting it on and feeling cozy, wrapped in the scent of my mother. I loved the way she smelled. Subtly sweet, not overpowering. It was as if every thread of that sweater was infused with her, keeping me warm.

It was the perfect sweater to curl up in and watch a movie.

Years went by. My view of the world evolved. I began to look at the things I’d once enjoyed in a different light.

I began to see what was attractive to the world as more important than the people and things I cared the most about.

And

That once-comforting sweater became ugly.

Mom’s caring and generosity became commonplace, expected.

Unappreciated.

I became cold and complacent to family, taking them for granted.

I took her for granted.

This is what teenagers do, right?

Eventually, the sweater made fewer and fewer appearances. I’m not sure why. Maybe newer clothes took its place. Maybe she just got tired of it. I don’t know. I never thought to ask.

This is one of the thousands of little things I didn t notice until she was gone.

It only hit me after she died and I found the sweater in her things. I picked it up and smelled it, hoping to recapture that feeling from my childhood. Hoping to feel her embrace me as I slipped it on for the first time in almost 20 years.

I look at this sweater and it evokes a bittersweet, beautiful longing for the one person I cannot have.

***** 

This non-fiction post was inspired by The Red Dress Club red writing hood prompt: to write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly - and find the beauty in it. (Concrit is welcome.)