Monday, October 11, 2010

his jacket

Curtis Stigers  
To Be Loved  
Songs From Dawson's Creek  

In almost all of my father’s pictures from when he was my age, he wears a thick leather jacket. It didn’t matter if it was eighty degrees out. He would always have a crisp white shirt, tight dark jeans and that bulky jacket on. I always assumed he needed that whole macho image to enter manhood, something that my grandfather and seven uncles failed to teach him. No one ever teaches you to become a man. It’s just something you should know from the get go.

He refused to throw it away even as he outgrew the style. It stayed at the back of his closet for decades. I remember one time, he caught me and my sister playing with it. I think I was about seven or something which made my sister about ten. Anyway, she and I had no idea about the jacket’s history. We just saw it and thought it would be cool to play dress up with it. When he saw me wearing it, he saw red. I had no right to wear his precious jacket and I got the beating of my life to make sure I always remembered.

I think that’s why it felt a little weird when he called me into his room and said he had something to give me. His room always smelled like naphthalene balls, a scent I have since associated with old people. He reached into his closet, pulled out the jacket and told me that it was time for me to start wearing it.

“I was about your age when I bought that,” he said. Part of me cringed and I was hoping it wasn’t very visible in the afternoon sunlight. I’m not exactly the leather jacket wearing type. But this wasn’t just any jacket, I would soon learn. It had a very special meaning to my father.

When he was in his early twenties, most of my father’s clothes were hand-me-downs from his brothers. He knew his wardrobe lacked a few key pieces. With his first paycheck, he bought that jacket. At first sight, it was a simple accessory, just scraps of leather, cotton and polyester sewn together. But underneath those layers, it symbolized everything he deemed important- freedom, growing up and making it in the real world. Whenever my father put on that jacket, he was becoming less like the boy who grew up in a farm and more like the man from the city he was becoming.

“Now I know times have changed but classics like this will never go out of style,” he beamed as he removed the jacket from the wooden hanger. I was torn at that point. I knew there was no chance in hell I would wear that thing but at the same time, I knew how much it meant to him, how this moment must’ve been in his mind for years. He was passing the symbol of his manhood to his only son. Now why did it feel like such a burden?

He put the jacket over my shoulders. I popped my hand out of each sleeve to find that it was at least three sizes too big for me. The shoulders drooped and the sleeves swallowed my hands. All in all, it just looked like a real big mess. I walked over to the dresser to see my reflection. I looked like a large black cow swallowed me whole.

“It’s too big,” I reasoned out as I took the jacket off. “I could have it tailored but that might ruin it.” My father stood behind me, his lips pursed and tense. I stared at our reflections in the mirror. How could we be related when we look nothing like each other? He stared at my reflection, his eyes lingering on my frail shoulders. Was he thinking the same thing? Was he asking the same questions?

“Perhaps you’ll grow into it,” he said, his voice filled with an alien hope. He took the jacket from my hands, folded it up and gave it to me. “Who knows? One day, you might decide to bulk up and it’ll fit then.” I smiled at him, that polite smile I only use when he makes me feel uncomfortable and thanked him for his gift. Deep down, I too wished the jacket would fit me one day.

Photo Credit: TSY

70 comments:

  1. "When we analyze the persona we strip off the mask, and discover that what seemed to be individual is at bottom collective … In a certain sense all this is real, yet in relation to the essential individuality of the person concerned it is only a secondary reality, a compromise formation, in making which others often have a greater share than he." - C.G. Jung

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  2. Aw.

    I like this story, Nyl.

    Simple, straightforward, and sincere.

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  3. Fathers can be more sentimental than mothers. -Gervin

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  4. My father then also was the jacket wearing type, the FPJ jacket type. It's nice you have that kind of moment with your father, or with a parent.

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  5. i don't know. the way you described the mirror scene reminded me of tanging yaman the movie. the moment is quite similar to the gloria romero-janette mcbride-dina bonnevie mirror scene.

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  6. @LOF: I suppose when you strip everything off of my father, he is very human- a concept I have to come to terms with at some point.

    @Rudeboy: Why thank you, Rudie! I was hoping it would sound that way.

    @Gervin: So true. I think it's cuz they don't do it a lot. Not like mothers who can smother us sometimes. :)

    @Xall: Perhaps it's a generation thing. My dad's in his 60's. Do they share the same generation?

    And I'm sorry about your mom. I recall feeling very saddened after reading your last post.

    @Lee: Oh I saw that when it came out. Perhaps it unknowingly inspired me to write that particular part. You know how sometimes the books you read, the songs you listened to and in this case the movies you've seen can influence us in some ways. In real life, it was a little less dramatic.

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  7. I think so, I honestly don't know.

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  8. my father used to have that kind of fashion sense when he's still a bachelor. weird.
    .
    .
    pero ngayong mayaman na siya (note: siya lang, hindi kami kasama ng momma ko) sya na si Mr. Signature (as in designer's clothes ang suot ng lolo mo)
    .
    .
    iba din talaga ang atake ng mga ama no?

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  9. @Xall: You don't? How interesting. It seems even if we've known each other for months (or isang taon na ba?), I still don't know a lot about you.

    @Désolé Boy: perhaps we're on to something here. Maybe it's a father conspiracy or something. lol Yeah, fathers hit us all differently but immensely. Strange no? I thought I could escape it.

    At designer clothes talaga? Sabihin mo ambunan ka. At yung di kasya sayo, send mo my way. lol

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  10. i was just reading a post about my dad when i read this.

    made me smile.

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  11. Yeah, in our country, leather jacket equates with masculinity. I don't get it. Kung pansin mo sa mga makalumang action film, karamihan ng goons, o kahit yung bida, naka-jacket na leather, kesahodang tirik ang araw, LOL.

    I never experience this type of moment or any moments with my Ama. Maybe the Father-Son relationship is non-existent to us. But hey, whenever my gay friends visit me at home, he always greet them with a smile. Masaya na ako dun. =)

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  12. You didn't really expect your Dad's jacket to be slim right? That would be odd... haha...

    The trouble with giving/receiving articles of clothing as gifts is what the giver feels when you don't wear the gift...

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  13. i always get soft whenever i read a father and son story. I have a separated parents I was with my dad last week and he bought me a nice pair of levis and nice shirt fits perfectly but when we got home he gave me his jacket...his nice blue classic jacket however just like you i look like im being swallowed by it but I decided to keep it, it will always be something to remind me of him...thanks for sharing.

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  14. Shit, father stories just make me cringe right off the bat. What is it with us gay people and these kinds of stories? I know I can go on ahead and expound on what I'm trying to say, but then that just gave me an idea for a post, and I like this one here, Citybuoy, because it hits a closeted soft spot for the biggest, meanest guy we all had growing up.

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  15. I agree with you and your Father, you may just one day grow into it and you'll remember that day. :)

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  16. So Nyl... where is the jacket? =)

    Kane

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  17. the story of the leather jacket.
    if this is from a father. I would treasure them a lot.

    have a great time.

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  18. @Engel: Is it a new post? Gawd, I haven't bloghopped in ages.

    @Ronnie: Tama! I remember this Bob Ong article about that. Made me laugh.

    I think that's a start. For all the things that I've said and written about the guy, I actually just want to be real close to him.

    @Glentot: Malay ko ba. haha I always thought we were around the same size.

    True. I have a special spot in my closet for unwanted clothes na niregalo sakin. lol

    @SOLB: Hi! Welcome to my blog! :) Thanks for reading.

    I will keep my jacket too. I understand its value naman. Perhaps one day, I might even pass it on to my own kids- if I every get any. lol

    @Momel: IKR! Dad stories always make me tear up and its something I just love writing a post. And hey, a new post! Yay! Can't wait to sink my teeth into it.

    @Andy: Perhaps it's time to give him a call! :)

    @Brent: Ooh, haven't seen you around in a while. So I guess this means you're really back! :)

    Yeah, I sure hope I grow into it too. That and what the metaphor stood for.

    @Kane: Ohio! We missed you at the party last weekend. It kinda got crazy.

    The jacket's in my closet. Among other things (Limon, 2007) lol

    @Diamond R: Hi! Welcome din to my blog! :) We don't get a lot of girls here. hehe

    Have a great time too! Thanks for reading!

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  19. 'Deep down, I too wished the jacket would fit me one day.'

    That line struck me most. No matter what happens, I think it's always in a child's nature to live up or at least try to live up to his parent's expectations. And it always stings when we know we're unable to do so. (from experience lang)

    I like your post. :)

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  20. Hey Spiral Prince! Nice to see you here again. Yes, we always try to live up to their expectations. Perhaps because collectively, they were our first loves. My mom spent a great deal of time in the States when I was growing up so mostly it was my dad and cousins who were always there. And although I'm a bit of a mama's boy now, I'm sure once upon a time, I really looked up to my old man.

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  21. thanks for the visit. follow ka ha.
    happy blogging

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  22. Your specialty is to touch the hearts of your readers. I am deeply touched by this story. Your stories, short or long, always amaze me.

    I am hoping for a second part - where you will tell us your experience of wearing that jacket.

    Also, thanks for following me. :)

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  23. ""He was passing the symbol of his manhood to his only son. Now why did it feel like such a burden?""

    ---eh kasi amnhood naman na kasi usapan. sinu bang di burdened nyan. you will carry his names. so mataas ang expectations...which means you cant be yourself sometimes......

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  24. well written piece, adding you up dude :)

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  25. that's really nice. recently ko lang naappreciate ang bond namin ng tatay ko. kaya this made me smile. :)


    pero i'll never wear one of my dad's coats and jackets. hahaha. seryoso! :P

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  26. i just noticed

    you always have that talent to be nostalgic and at the same time very sentimental.

    you as a kid meets you as a grown up always jive in perfect harmony...

    and this, like hundreds of your posts, is one of them.

    :)

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  27. at talagang itinago mo pala yung jacket.

    mahusay ang pagkakasulat. simple, pero hindi kulang sa mga elemento

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  28. @Louie: A sequel? I've never really thought about that. I guess by now you know my stories aren't always linear. lol

    @Antonio: I guess I'm a fool for thinking I could have it both. I'm not really 100% sure about the whole being given his name thing. It seems like I would have to pretend a whooooole lot if that were to happen. Yikes!

    @Albert: Thanks! Welcome to my blog. I'll follow you too! :)

    @Ced: Well it's really your choice. Mahirap naman pilitin no? lol It's good that you guys are getting along. Boys always need their fathers.

    @Ewik: Awww... That's the sweetest thing you've said to me evarr. Thanks for reading. I'm really touched. :)

    @China Eyes: Aba siyempre! Minsan lang yun! Thanks nga pala for reading and welcome to my blog! :)

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  29. argh! something's gotta be wrong with blogger right now. i typed a lot already and when i clicked to submit it, it said service unavailable. #$%*##@!
    anyway, i really loved the post nyl.
    he must have felt really good whe he bought that jacket. i know that feeling. hehe :)
    and yeah handing down something to us means expecting something big from us. i remember my mom showing me her prized jewelry (but not handing down but still it's like that) and telling me that she would be handing it down the time that i have a fiancee. haha. it was a weird feeling. didn't know how to react at that time so i was just silent. ^_^

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  30. i am not close with my father.
    anyway, anong tatak ng jacket. hehe : D

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  31. That's a really touching story... We get treasured things from our parents and though it feels weird, we just can't help but feel touched because we know we're being valued a lot. :) I hope the jacket fits you too one day! :D

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  32. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  33. coming to see the person behind the projections in our parents and not going mad is really the achievement of adulthood.

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  34. wow, nakakarelate ako dito.
    ung father ko, ang binigay nya sakin ung wedding ring niya kay mama. HS ako nun nung binigay nya, 2nd year i think. I wore all through HS hanggang college. Naalala ko nun, di pa kasya sakin kasi lampayatot ako nung HS.
    Nasuot ko sya I think 4th year HS na ako hanggang 3rd year college ata suot ko sya.
    tapos ngaun di na kasya kaya nakatago na lang sa aparador ko.
    at ngayon ko lang narealize na puro english ung nagcomment dito, nahiya tuloy ako.
    ito na ung english ko > yeah.

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  35. Cb,

    Nice, nice entry. I remember when my father has given us his 'baston style pantalong kuldoroy' and fits well on me. Mas malaki ako sa tatay ko eh. :)

    Pero ngayon, iba na. Ang naaalala ko naman is when I gave him a kwintas with a pendant na pinaghirapan ko noon sa ibang bansa.

    Hehe. You ganun lang ang buhay, if our parents can make pamana, kaya din naman natin kahit yung simple lang just to make them feel na they matter to us.

    Ingat

    Cio

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  36. The metaphor was just so apt. It was hard to miss.

    Me and my father also have a jacket of sorts. I think most (if not all) of us do. Though both of us had the best of intentions, the difference between our choices, our preferences, was just too big for a compromise, a middle ground. This is sad to realize, of course, but I guess there is nothing left to do but accept it.

    I love this post Nyl. I really do.

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  37. Nyl, dinawit kita sa new post ko hehe : D

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  38. @Carlo: Well that sucks! Buti you tried again. lol

    Diba? I think my jacket is your mom's jewelry. It's something heavy and depressing disguised as an inanimate object!

    @Ahmer: Natuklap na yung label eh. Haha but it looks regular naman.

    And thanks for the post. I read it na. I'll comment after this. :)

    @Traveliztera: Hey! Welcome to my blog! And thanks for following!

    LOF: Some people call it maturity. I call it forgiveness. Lol as this book (whose name escapes me now) said, Blame your parents and then move on!

    @Oliver: Haha natawa ako dun sa yeah. Wait, I'm a little confused. I didn't know you could outgrow a ring.

    It seems these mini family heirlooms are quite common after all!

    @Cio: Wow. So pwede pala magpamana in reverse. I suppose I need to get him something too. Kaso katatapos lang ng birthday niya at malayo pa ang father's day. How do I do this inconspicuously? Hmm...

    @Manech: Biased ka lang. lol

    They say acceptance is hard but worth it. I think I need to start working at it.

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  39. ang galing. i really like this coming-of-age story. i loved the symbolisms, the subtlety, and the emotions that went with this post. nice. okay lang na i-add kita sa blogroll ko? :)

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  40. Hey Claudiopoi! Of course it's okay! :) Bakit naman hindi? Tancha ko wala pa namang humihindi diyan. lol I'll follow you nalang para I can keep track of your posts.

    Welcome to my blog at maraming salamat for taking the time to read and comment on this post. :)

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  41. And what's wrong with being biased? :)

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  42. Well nothing, of course. Especially since it mostly works to my favor.

    And yes, I should be sleeping now. haha *logs off*

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  43. ello ʎonqʎʇıɔ ... nice story , i like it ... my dad never had a leather jacket i dont know y ??? hihi.. keep safe :0

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  44. see, he is still reaching out on you. love ka nya. oh well, that's my interpretation.

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  45. sometimes they ask us to follow their footsteps.. and the most difficult part of it is being honest, saying that you cant

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  46. nyl,

    salamat. in-add na kita sa blogroll ko. actually, kagabi pa. haha :) btw, i recently added you up sa FB. di ko alam kung bakit, pero ginawa ko lang. hahaha :)

    ang btw, ikaw pa lang ang follower ko. im still new to blogging, but im so glad that i came across your site kaagad. :)

    salamat nyl.

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  47. @Korki: Hey Korki! Malay mo, it comes in a different form. Haha based on the comments on this post, it sometimes appears as pants, pendants, etc.

    Keep safe too! :)

    @Chyng: I think you're right. Di naman dapat in question yung love niya sa akin. Insecure lang ako paminsan. lol

    @That Girl: Hey! You're back! I still don't know how to reach you. :c

    @Carlo: Sometimes, it's even harder to accept that you can't follow their footsteps. But it seems everyone agrees that acceptance is very important.

    @Claudiopoi: Thanks! Inaccept ko naman yung request. Baka may masabi ka pa eh. haha

    You're very welcome and keep writing! Suggestion ko lang, get the Followers gadget. It makes it easier for people to connect with you.

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  48. i added it na.

    i already have 5 followers. a long way to go pa, pero okay lang kasi masaya pala mag blog-hop. hehe :)

    looking forward to more of our posts. galing. :D

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  49. Yay! Dadami pa yan. haha And parang may karma sa pagb-blog. The more you read and comment, the more nan babalik sayo. The more you follow, the more na may followers ka. Wag ka lang maging pushy and you should be fine. :)

    Super thanks for all your encouraging words. Friends na tayo ha!

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  50. *your posts pala dapat yung last statement ko. haha :) amsureh. parang ang vain ko naman pag sinabi kong i look forward yo our posts. haha :)

    oo, friends na tayo! hehe. :) i don't think pushy naman ako. pero i'll keep that in mind.

    nyl, farawt na segue to ha, pero chaka nga ang eat pray love. haha. i slept sa pray portion. yung climax kasi ay nasa eat lang. naging chaka sa pray. tapos sa love parang so-so lang.

    haha. sinulat ko talaga dito diba. i told you kasi i'd tell you my thoughts after watching it. haha.

    sorry sa litanyang to. :)

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  51. Yeah, I remember you said that on FB. Medyo anticlimactic siya talaga. lol

    Haha di ko na nga pinansin yung typo. Pero okay lang naman either way. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts too. :)

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  52. ayan, ti-nag na kita sa isang note ko. haha :) kasi yung name mo talaga ang unang nag appear sa N, so ayun. nagpaliwanag daw ba. :)

    sige, sige. i plan to write as often as i can, since i'm primarily home-based. and i discovered na it helps pala big time when i blog hop a lot, kasi nakakatulong sa material at sa writing style.

    kelan next entry mo? :)

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  53. It really does. Plus you get to experience other worlds. Haha parang alien lang.

    Next post? Dapat Monday morning. Tapos sabi ko ngayon ko tatapusin. Kaso ayaw lumabas eh. Nafrufrustrate na nga ako. Sana by the end of Tuesday. fudge.

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  54. huuuui. hindi ka ba natutulog? :D

    okay lang yan. ganyan talaga pag minsan. yung parang writer's block. tapusin mo na yan at para mapaiyak mo na naman ako. haha. parang bipolar lang!

    looking forward nyl. goodluck sa pagsusulat! :)

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  55. :)

    that was nice of him. you're stories with your dad never fail to pinch my heart. i like how the way you tell it, simple and sincere

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  56. o,go to the gym and bulk up!hahaha

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  57. father-son posts are heartwarming. especially so if it's the father-gay son variety. i love this, citybuoy.

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  58. @Claudiopoi: Hilaw pa talaga yung post eh. I think I'm just gonna microblog first until proud na akong ilabas siya sa mundo. haha parang ina lang.

    @Xtian: Thanks! I remember nga one of the first entries you read was about him.

    Nasabi ko na to sa isang comment pero grabe, I haven't seen you in ages. Nakakamiss ka! O, wag lalaki ulo ha. haha

    @Mac: Di ko kaya! Sobrang di ko na nga mapagkasya yung 24 hours ko! haha

    @John: Why thank you! You know how much I love your writing so that means a lot.

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  59. ipa alter na yang jacket na yan.... ipagawa mong bolero hahahaha

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  60. Wag naman bolero! Parang ang sagwa! haha

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  61. Stories like this always break my heart. I love this story more than anything else that you have already written.

    Nyl, I hate crying over a rented computer.

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  62. Hey Yas! Haven't heard from you in a while. So I finally trumped Paint It Black? Thanks for dropping by!

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  63. Some years ago my dad gave me a velvet jacket. I was young and associated jackets with old, parent figure kind of people. There was no way in hell me in my teens would be caught dead in that thing. Unlike u, I gave out my jacket. As of date, I regret why I gave it out. Those jackets are back in style and would be a perfect fit by now :(

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  64. Hey Writer! Welcome to my blog. Yeah, I thought about that. I showed it to a friend who's into leather and he asked if he could buy it from me. I agreed on an indefinite loan instead. I don't wanna regret losing it.

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  65. You made a better choice than mine. I gave my velvet jacket to a relative and am sure the thing if its present its in pieces by now.

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  66. Why don't you call and find out? Metaphor or not, it must be found!

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  67. Leather jackets are pretty cool. It's like aviator glasses: classic.

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  68. I'd like to try it but.. haha let's just say my nose is a little insufficient for it.

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