When I was seventeen, I was independently mobile for the first time. I had my first car and a driver’s license plus a job and no bills. It was fun to, for the first time ever, go to a store on my own and impulsively spend my own money on whatever interested me. Like cool t-shirts. One day, while buying a few things, I noticed a particular t-shirt which looked like a no-brainer for me:
Just a simple, cheap, black t-shirt with a logo and slogan on it. I grabbed it without hesitation and wore it to class the next day. I was sitting in the JCC computer lab (which at the time was in Bert Walker Hall) studying with friends when my buddy Luke walked in. He said “The Goodfather. Ha. That’s funny”. I was like…wait. What? Only then did I notice that the shirt said “Goodfather” instead of “Godfather” (the name of my favorite movie). I felt silly. The meaning of the shirt was not what I’d thought and, not being a father myself, didn’t quite make sense for me.
I ended up just burying the shirt in the bottom of my t-shirt drawer and forgetting about it. I thought about getting rid of it but never bothered. And then I got married. I knew then, that one day I’d be a father and when that happened, I’d get to wear the shirt.
The years past by though with no children. It was tough. Children became a topic to avoid and not ever think about. But still, occasionally I’d be sifting through my shirts and find the Goodfather t-shirt. Part of me would think “I should just get rid of that thing already” but I could never bring myself to do it. In some strange way, the shirt represented my holding on to some hope that one day our dreams would come true and I’d get to wear it.
Year after year, t-shirts came and went while this one stayed buried in the back. Every so often I’d notice it again and my hope would be slightly rekindled. I stopped thinking about getting rid of it. Letting go of the shirt would have been like letting go of hope. It’s so silly now that I think about it.
And then she came. Abigail arrived suddenly and changed our lives. After a few days, I wore the shirt and it felt like it had all come true. I was really a father. It also felt a little itchy and baggy. Turns out it’s not a super high quality t-shirt. Oh, well. It’s still special to me.