Dress Codes

Sleeping in your clothes feels like a familiar song after the fourth glass of wine: a recognizable comfort, a precise memory lost in surges of warm tingles in the veins of the body.

I slip into your old jacket dirtied by the months that have passed and acquaint myself with the feeling that you wear everyday. The scent of your daily adventures slips from your sleeve onto my pillow and makes its way to my dreams. I hide my face in your familiar smell, in the stains of memories I know nothing of, and stay there until the sky changes its color and the alarm clock meets me halfway into morning.

My scent meets yours in the slew of thread and fabric, and I make sure to envelope each stitch with my own scent so that when you wear this feeling again, you will find yourself lost in my own world, sown neatly into every loop of every dream of mine you’ve unknowingly visited.

I wear your clothes to clothe you eventually; scent, sense, and sleep.

Slipping into your clothes feels like a warm bath on an uneventful December dawn: comforting and necessary. I welcome you with open pores and stand still as you rush from the tips of my hairs to the ends of my toes. I let you drip into my every inch, bare naked, until I am clean and new, until my body feels ready for another cold holiday. And when I think it is all over, I slip into another bath of you and you wash all over me until a puddle of you grows steadily at my feet.

I wear you like this, soaped and rinsed, clean.

I slip into you through your clothes, one sleeve after another, resting my thoughts into your folded collar, buttoning myself into the closest I could get to your embrace. This is how I wrap myself in your arms. This is how I sleep with you at night. This is how I keep you close, a version of you that will never go away. I slip into you one evening after another until the scent wears out and the sleeve begins to know more of me than most of you. I slip into you until there’s nothing left of you to slip into. I slip into myself and into the dreams that wait after midnight where I make my way to you while you try to find your way among rows and rows of piles and piles of folded clothes. I slip into this dream again and again, in the fold of your jacket and the curve of your neckline, unbuttoned and open, shivering in the imagined warmth of your skin. I sleep inside your sleeve again and again until your scent is tattooed on my skin.

I fall asleep like this night after night, with the traces of you under my pillow and in my closet. I collect you limb after limb through a checkered shirt, a hat, a scarf, an old jacket. I build you into my life piece by piece in thieving slow certainty. This will do for now until I no longer need to take your clothes from you, when one day you decide to leave a piece of you with me in the morning after we slip out of our own shirts and under the sheets, into each other’s dreams and each other’s lips. Your limbs will be entangled with mine, and your scent will be my own exhale as I am in the whiff of your every breath. We will be puddles in each other’s feet, swimming in a sea of you and me, travelling in a common subconscious, escaping evenings and evading dawns, forgetting afternoons and cheating time. We will clothe each other in our own skin, bare and fully clothed of you and I, we are cool and warm at the same time.

And so tonight, I slide into the ritual of dressing up in your clothes again, pushing every button into its rightful hole just as you would. Good old fashion; good, old-fashioned; good, old, fashioned. Good. I run my fingers along the edge of the checkered cloth and imagine the tip of your finger there, tracing the lines with me until drowse sets in, until I have scrubbed myself clean, until I have hung you deep inside my closet, until I have found you finding your way around the maze of my dreams. I will stay here, inside this piece of you, oh this peace of you, until I feel your breath on my nape, your caress on my skin, your eyes on me – steady, while the sky changes its color for another morning.

I will wear myself inside your sleeve, again and again, until the taste of your soul slips under my skin.


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