This biography is for the sake of my first owner, who will not know that his sister has taken me from his closet, but who will probably not care.
I don’t remember how I was born. Going by the stories of my brothers and sisters (who I’ve only met once or twice), I was probably sewn by some machines in a common birthplace for us—India or something, but this is all hearsay. I actually remember nothing, unlike some of my brothers who can recall passing underneath the machines, and the tickly feeling of their stitches being pulled together.
I only remember waking up once, in what my brothers later told me was a shopping cart, and speaking to my sisters who were being moved to a different “section” of the “store.” None of these terms make any sense, even now when I’ve been shelved for a few days. Not many of us stay on the shelves and none of us want to—we’ve all heard the stories of the Shirts who get thrown in the Recycling Bin. A shirt knows it’s going to the Recycling Bin if it stays in the Sale section for more than a week, and it is said to be a fate worse than deconstruction—to be given to a some people who will take us to the Charity Shop where we may never get owners.
One of a shirt’s biggest aspirations is to be given to someone who smells nice. It is the height of our existence, but is mostly only attainable by the Expensives, not Five Pounders, or so my brothers tell me. This is what I hoped for most in my Shirt life, but I did not dream too much and tried to be realistic as I saw my brothers be picked up and taken away, one by one, until I was the only one left on the shelf.
I was terrified because I heard the Clerks talking about the sale bin near me and readying myself for the Sale section when one day, I was picked up by a tiny human in the store and I felt my stitches relax for the first time in what felt like forever. She asked a much taller human if he liked me, and he said yes and they threw me into the cart, and just like that I had an Owner.
It was a good life. I was packed into what I heard his companions call a “suitcase,” where I met a smaller Shirt whom I had a short relationship with. Then I was moved to a Closet, and had the most fun, meeting various Clothes of various Makers.
However, it was not to last. My Human began to grow and I gained a tear in my side, so I was not very wearable anymore and was subsequently abandoned. It was beginning to look like I would end up with a Smeller after all. I was in the Laundry one day, lamenting over my wrinkly state, when a bright light appeared through the stuffiness of the other clothes that were in the same state as me and a Human picked me up. It was my Human’s sister, and she was considering me in a way no one had in a long time.
I held my breath as she looked over at me, and nearly lost all hope when she saw the tear I had acquired, but then she huffed and took me to the ironing table. I had never been happier to see an Iron in my life. I was ecstatic as she sprayed me with her cologne, which was a scent I wasn’t used to, but it smelled wonderful anyway. She pulled me on and flashed her teeth at her mirror, the way her brother used to do.
I was being worn again and I was content to let myself rest in the hands of my new Human. It was the beginning of a new era and I could not have been happier.
So, old Human, I am happy, and I hope you are, too, with your new Shirts.
—By Tamilore O., 17, Lagos, Nigeria