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  • Grace Wayne

The Winter, My Coat, Coldness-Induced Angst

Summer came, I grieved my coat. Its colour, its glory, the freedom it afforded me. I could wear what I wanted, then I’d conceal the lack of effort with my nice green coat. No matter what I was wearing, I could throw my coat over it and feel content in my appearance. I miss having that luxury; goodness without effort. In the summer every day was a battle to look presentable. Wiping away the sweat with one hand and shaking the hand of a stranger with the other. My coat wasn’t too flashy but it wasn’t plain. It wasn’t too big, wasn’t too small. The Goldilocks of coats. It had seen things; I’d taken it everywhere. Strangers would compliment me, asking me where I bought it. I’d say ‘Vinted,’ attempting to not come across as smug. I missed my coat, more than I missed anything else that winter offered me.

But now it’s cold again and the coat doesn’t seem to bring the same warmth. It’s just the burden of an extra layer.

Winter is here; I reflect on my summer. I called it ‘the last summer of laziness’, knowing that probably wasn’t true. The heat makes me lazy, and all I can think about is the way my skin feels. I find a comfortable spot and lay in it all day. I try to write but I’m too in my body to think. I don’t care to intellectualise; I don’t have it in me. In an attempt to live lightly, I gave away half my clothes. The ones that didn’t fit, the ones I never wore anymore, and the ones that were beyond repair. It was important to me to only keep what I needed. I move every year and I cannot drive. It’s a nightmare to lug a house full of stuff on the bus. I don’t buy anything new; if something goes wrong I sew it up and try my best to scrub away the stain.

I cut my hair. My long red hair became a short brown bob and I tried my best not to complain. I try to think about it poetically; I have chopped years of experiences away. I started growing my hair out when I was fifteen, and felt repulsively juvenile again. When I stopped thinking about it poetically, I just felt ugly. I bought a new perfume, spraying myself with an excessive amount of Iris. A smell I hadn’t yet dedicated to anyone. A smell that was solely my own. I won’t let the past repeat itself. I am too young to compare every new face to another. I’m trying to iron out my bad habits and fears before they’re too deeply ingrained. I long for the new, yet winter has brought me back to myself.

I indulge in the seasonal delights. I bought a Halloween costume. I watched the fireworks. I began to budget for Christmas. I accept whatever opportunities that fall at my feet. These usually involve drinking. I don’t seek anything out. The bugs migrate indoors; I try to be the type of person who doesn’t mind this. I am too old to be afraid of spiders. But some things we never age out of.

I spend less time staring at my own reflection. In the warmer months, I tend to become consumed with my face. It’s coldest in my bathroom so I could happily spend hours standing on the tiled floor, staring at my reflection as I hum along to my music. However, in the colder months, I find myself having to remind myself of the simplest facts in life: a body is just a body, and a face is just a face. As I adjust to the weather, adjust to always wearing the wrong thing, adjust to my bathroom no longer being a place to cool down - and instead, the coldest place on earth - I find myself avoiding my mirrors. Not out of self-loathing, but rather a resentment that I can be seen, flustered and cold.

I avoid wandering the streets, I speak in a painful amount of metaphors. Seeking meaning in the mundane. I enjoy the beauty around me. Not just outside, but inside my house. I enjoy being able to think again, no longer preoccupied by keeping myself cool. I watch the world from the window. I enjoy watching the rain. It gets dark just before five. Every day someone will remark their annoyance at this, then go into an excessive rant like this is the first time it’s happened. I do the same. What winter lacks in daylight, it certainly provides for small talk. What I lack in originality, I make up for in common complaints. 

I have bought a new coat.


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