This is a very long story about a t-shirt

11 months ago I had a weekend run in Nampa-Salem-Spokane. And I was excited because it was the perfect set up for a weekend getaway. We could all drive to Idaho together, leave Ethan with the grandparents, and Danielle and I could have some much-needed alone time. We would have nice hotel rooms each night, nice drives through beautiful Oregon and Washington each day, and just some time to talk about everything.

About an hour or two after we started the road trip I was so excited for, she told me she wanted a “trial separation.” She told me she already arranged to live in our friend’s basement for a while and she could move in right away. Needless to say, it was a weird weekend.

We finally made it to Salem and I had to perform that night and she watched the Revenant by herself. The next day we drove to Spokane. At a couple different points in the car ride, she was messaging guys on Tinder while riding shotgun next to me.

I did Billy Anderson’s Gateway show that night in Spokane and it was amazing. It was the very first time I had ever gotten high and I was excited because Danielle had wanted me to smoke with her for a while at that point, but I was always too scared to. It had been one of the many areas in which I felt we were growing alarmingly apart. She had felt so distant from me and it was really scaring me. I was excited to show her I could be cool, be on her level, and have a great time with her.

And we did! Oh my god, it was a great night. I had fun at the show, but afterwards was even better. I was just in such a great mood and so so so happy. Naive as I was, I didn’t fully attribute this to the weed. In my mind, we were just so happy TOGETHER. We watched Game of Thrones and laughed a lot and had hands down the greatest sex of my life. It was other worldly. I felt like I disappeared inside of her soul. I. Was. So. Happy. Again, naive as I was, I mistook breakup sex for makeup sex. I fell asleep with my arm around her thinking, “We did it. We fixed it. Look how happy we are. It can be like this all the time. We’re gonna get so much better.”

But the morning came and the first words she said to me were, “So I think I’m going to leave on Wednesday.” I. Was. Crushed. She was still leaving. After that? After all that? She still wants to go? Why does she still want to go? Wasn’t she happy last night? Why is she leaving? Why is she doing this? What’s wrong with me? Oh my God she’s going to leave me. Oh my God oh my God oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my

The next few hours were kinda blurry. It’s very possible I was still high from the night before but I was also in a daze, trying to accept what was happening. But the next thing I knew, we were in the car, driving back to Boise. We had about a 7 hour drive ahead of us that day, and I cried for probably 5 of them.

I can’t remember much of what happened or what I said or what she said. I do know she told me I was sad and needy, and I know didn’t really disprove that opinion when I literally begged her to please make love to me one more time on the way home. But somewhere in this heartbroken fugue state, we stopped at a gas station and while inside, I impulsively bought a Seattle Seahawks t-shirt for $20. I know I wasn’t myself because I would never spend that much money on a shirt, definitely not one from a gas station. But I think I knew it was the end, and some part of me just wanted some kind of souvenir, something to commemorate our last day together.

We eventually made it to my parents’ house in Boise and I spent another 36 hours crying and begging her not to leave. I promised everything and tried everything and bore my soul bare and she would hold me until I cried myself to sleep and I would wake up to find her chatting with guys on OK Cupid.

Wednesday morning came and she kept her promise to leave. She drove to Portland, where she had a date that night with a guy she matched with on Tinder while in the car with me a few days prior. I went to an open mic.

But I also put on that Seahawks t-shirt for the very first time. It fit perfectly. I wouldn’t take it off until 4 days later. It was a very rough time, and showers weren’t really in the cards for me that week. I would sit and stare blankly, I would lie in bed and cry, and I would anxiously pace my parents’ basement all night long while occasionally logging into Danielle’s OK Cupid account to see her conversations with random dudes so that I could have something to anxiously pace/scream about (“I’m actually getting divorced too lol”). But I did it all in that stupid Seahawks t-shirt.

I wore it all summer. It was instantly my favorite shirt. I even wrote a joke about it. I don’t know why I get attached to articles of clothing, but I do. And boy, did I get attached to this one. It honestly felt like a friend. Or maybe comfort blanket is a better/less creepy way to describe it. I would wear it when I was in a great mood and going out with friends. I would put it on when I was in a terribly sad mood and it would make me feel better. I would wear it when I had to see her and I was so scared that I would cry in front of her (again) and it would make me feel safe and confident. I’ve worn it so much in the last 11 months, that all the letters are already cracked and peeling off.

This is all on my mind because I had a show in northern Idaho this weekend, and since Danielle told me I couldn’t have Ethan at all this week, I didn’t see much reason in going back home. I decided to go stay with my parents for a little while so I wouldn’t be alone. So yesterday, after dropping another comic off at the Spokane airport, I ended up making that exact same drive to Boise that we made together 11 months ago.

It was an absolutely gorgeous drive. I wish I had gotten better pictures. At this point in the spring, all the mountains were still snow capped and all the valleys were a bright, vibrant green. Rivers were raging with snowmelt. Lakes were still frozen, but surrounded by yellow and purple wildflowers. And all of this was underneath an unbelievably bright blue sky dotted with perfect, snowy white clouds, and totally permeated by a surreal, bitter nostalgia.

I remember so much more than I thought I did. As I drove over lush, green hills, I could remember us driving through there. I could remember what we were listening to at certain points of the drive. Along the way, I remembered every spot where she asked to stop so she could get out and take pictures that I would never get to see while I stayed in the car and cried alone, taking my own mental snapshots of her. I could see her perfectly framed through the passenger window standing on the edge of a river near Lewiston, her camera to her eye and her back to me.

But it wasn’t that bad. Definitely melancholy, certainly surreal, but not utterly depressing. I actually enjoyed the drive, taking in the scenery and listening to the end of “It.” And when I saw that same gas station, I stopped and went inside again. I found their clothes rack and while it was now mostly hoodies and winter apparel, they had three Seahawks t-shirts still on the rack. So I bought another one. Because I fucking love that shirt.

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