“That jacket may ruin our friendship.”
Apparently, I actually said those words. I sort of remember this—and although they sound harsh, I believe I did. The woman who I said them to never forgot. Those words were a lie.
Fifteen years ago, I was the host of a morning television show in Indianapolis, and Shireen Sandoval was our entertainment/lifestyle reporter. We were best friends. She was on the scene one day at a local vintage store (Broad Ripple Vintage) where we loved to shop together. This particular morning, she found a fabulous leather jacket. She was modeling it for her live shot, and when she appeared on the monitor in our studio, I gasped at how gorgeous the jacket was and asked her to bring it home for me. I’d be happy to reimburse her.
“Well I like it, too, and I may just keep it,” she replied. The gloves came off, the cameras disappeared, and the fact that we were on live television became suddenly unimportant. Fashion is worth fighting over.
Me: “Shireen, I want that jacket.”
Shireen: “So do I, and I found it first.”
Me: “Shireen, I’ll pay you for it.”
Shireen: “I’m already wearing it.”
Me: “It will look better with my skin tone.”
Shireen: “It’s a perfect fit for me—you don’t have the boobs for it.”
Me: “That jacket may ruin our friendship.”
At this point, my co-anchor intervened and starting asking relevant questions about the store in an attempt to save us from ourselves.
Bear in mind, Shireen is one of the best friends I’ve ever had. But a perfectly tailored, lined, vintage, pristine quality, timeless, Merlot-colored leather jacket is a rare find.
She returned to the station after the show wearing the jacket. Bitch.
It did look good on her—everything does. Bitch.
She kept the jacket. She had the boobs for it. Bitch.
Did I still love her like my sister? Yes.
As a grown-up, good friends are hard to make and hard to keep. A leather jacket is replaceable.
Eventually I forgot about the jacket and after we both moved on in our careers and away from Indianapolis, our friendship faded as well. This is a time I will always regret. Unlike quality leather, friendships don’t always age well. A few years ago, I reached out to Shireen after many years of silence. She welcomed me with open arms, and our friendship was like that well-worn leather jacket, a perfect fit and so very comfortable. Yet there were holes we needed to patch and souls in need of healing. A lot has happened in the last 15 years. We’ve both suffered and celebrated. There have been births, deaths, divorces, illness, love, and loss. Over the past year, we’ve mended.
Last weekend I visited Shireen at her fabulous apartment overlooking the ocean on Miami Beach. On my bed in her guest room was a stunning, perfectly tailored, lined, vintage, pristine quality, timeless, Merlot-colored leather jacket. It had been all over the world with her on travels as a film critic. Now it hangs in my closet in Minnesota.
I was wrong about the jacket ruining our friendship. It did not.
She was right about me not having the boobs for it. I do not.
That jacket will eventually fade, but our bond will outlast its seams.