Short Story: The Entropy of Denim

denimShe held up the jeans and looked at them critically for a moment. She remembered the last time she had worn them. She had crouched down to pick something up and her left knee had finally poked through the old, tired denim. It was for the best. There was a spot between the thighs that was rubbing awfully thin and she was about one awkward move away from splitting her pants.

Some holes were good. If you bought them from the store like that, they were even cool. But homemade holes from wear and tear never looked like the ones fresh from the factory.

But, oh how she loved these jeans.

She remembered why she had bought those jeans, turning to look behind her, staring at the mirror with the sort of intensely critical eye that she only ever turned on herself. Back then it had been about how they fit on her waist and her hips and her thighs. It had been about where the pant leg had landed on the top of  her foot. Not too long. Not too short. It didn’t matter if they were a little rough and stiff because they had made her butt look fantastic. And isn’t that what it’s all about? A fantastic looking butt?

Those jeans, back then, had been a good pair of jeans. Added to the rotation, worn when she needed something unfaded and whole. Her nice jeans.

Somewhere along the line they had slipped from that. They became soft and pliable in a way they had never been when she had bought them.They stopped being worn out on date nights and weekend activities. They became the jeans she threw on to go to the grocery store, to run errands, to wear around the house. They weren’t her nice jeans anymore, but they became something more. She began to love how they felt on her skin, how they moved with her body instead of against it. They hugged her lower limbs. They didn’t restrain them. Maybe, her butt didn’t look as nice in them anymore, but goddammit, they were comfortable.

Then her knee rudely poked right through that beat up space at her knee.

That was just typical. If something got comfortable, it wasn’t too long before it seemed to all just fall apart.

It was like that soft pair of shoes, her favorite after months of wearing them in, until the soles began to detach so when she walked it was like two mouths flapping open and smacking against the pavement. There was the couch that was neither too firm, nor too soft, that allowed for long afternoons reading or laying in front of the television, but then the cushions started to lose their shape and the whole thing seemed to just sag. There was the car that she loved to drive right up to the very moment that the transmission failed.

Then there were her relationships. It wasn’t true of all people but for her it was. As soon as she started to get comfortable with someone, well, she couldn’t help but start pushing holes through the weakest areas. And there were always weak areas.

For example, there was her current boyfriend. He had been just like those nice jeans at the beginning. Everything he did and said was interesting. He brought her flowers. They went out to fancy restaurants and gallery openings and festivals. He always dressed nice and smelled good. He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her neck, the lobes of her ears, and whispered sweet things to her.

All of that was nice, but there were the other parts that were less comfortable. She wasn’t sure if he would like everything about her. Maybe, he would discover who she was at her core and he would reject her. Along with all of that heart fluttering excitement of young love, there was fear and insecurity there . When he didn’t call her back or didn’t text, she wondered if he was getting bored with her. When they ran into his ex-girlfriend, she felt jealous. She didn’t always get along with his friends. She wasn’t sure but she was fairly certain his mom didn’t like her. It was fun being with someone new, but it wasn’t always easy.

Yet, slowly, it turned into something comfortable. She didn’t feel like she had to put makeup on every time she saw him. He didn’t feel like he had to dress up. They didn’t have to go to fancy restaurants, nor did either of them have to spend time or energy thinking of fun and exciting things to do. What was the point of going out all night and closing down the bars, when they could just lay on the couch, eat takeout and watch movies? She didn’t feel embarrassed around him. There was nothing to prove. They knew each other and at the end of all of the knowing, they still liked each other, loved each other. She knew why he didn’t return her phone calls sometimes and she certainly wasn’t jealous of his ex anymore.

There was a brief moment of enjoying this comfortable life, before she started to find the holes.

Sure, she was happy, but she began to wonder if he was the right person for her. If he was “the one.” After all, she may have forgiven him for past transgressions and she might have forgotten the fights that they had over the past few years but they were still there written in the faded and worn cloth that was their relationship. You could patch over it, but you knew it was there.

And if she was honest, it still bothered her why he couldn’t just return a phone call or at least text. It wasn’t hard. And no, she wasn’t jealous of his ex-girlfriend, but why was she always still around? It was beginning to feel like they couldn’t go anywhere without running into her. And would it be so terrible, if just once he dressed up and took her somewhere nice? She couldn’t remember the last time he bought her flowers.

Sure, she loved her boyfriend. He was great. And yet, sometimes, she found herself wishing for something new, something exciting and maybe just a little uncomfortable.

It was difficult to decide what to do. She could stay with her boyfriend, despite the threadbare spaces and the discolored patches they put over the problem areas, but always, she felt the pull to go find someone else. Maybe, when things finally got comfortable with the new person, it would be different. Better.

She held up the jeans and looking at them one more time, eyeing them up with that same intensely, critical eye she had turned on herself when she had bought them.

Well, there was no point in holding on to them. She draped them on top of the other clothes she was getting rid of, sweaters that had shrunk in the dryer, the print that she thought might be fun but just ended up looking weird, the dress that wasn’t quite long enough. Then, she hoisted the box up and marched it resolutely down the stairs and placed it by the door.

Her boyfriend was sitting on the couch, watching television and he looked over at her and then the box. “I can’t believe you’re getting rid of those jeans. I thought you loved them.”

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