When the Not Boyfriend comes to see me, he travels light and he always carries a hat. His leather duffle is never at maximum capacity. His camo National Guard backpack safeguards only a few items - a book, his laptop, earbuds, a small notebook where he keeps track of to-dos and ideas. Somewhere in there or upon his head, sits a chapeau. Usually a fedora.
I love his hats, not just because they are classic and dapper in a way most Docker-clad, worn-brimmed baseball-capped men don't care to be (save the hipsters...thank God the hipsters are keeping this whole granny thing a-goin', one pair of Harry Caray ginormous plastic glasses and salvaged Don Draper hat at a time). I also love that it is so him -- attentive to details, like a little wink across the room or just the right flavor of half-and-half in the fridge.
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When he came out in September to celebrate Lil E's birthday, the Not Boyfriend wore his casual fedora (oh yes, friends, this is a man collection that means he shall never once complain about the sheer number of peep toes in every corner of my room) and brought along a dress fedora for a night out we'd planned ( and the answer is no, we cannot take a good picture of ourselves).
He wore them both very well. But when it was time to go home, he had a few extra items to take along and suddenly, there wasn't room for one hat to ride along. The casual fedora, looking a little beaten up after the kids passed it around at the playground while he chased them one afternoon, stayed behind. I promised to bring it when I saw him the next month.
It wouldn't be the Not Boyfriend's way to place his hat in between the necklaces strewn about on my dresser and the bottles of perfume waiting there patiently for October's date night. Nor would it be his way to leave it on the table by the front door where I'd be sure to remember it for weeks. Instead, he put it on his finger and easily flipped it up on a bookcase.
It would never occur to me -- not ever -- to put anything up there. Well, except for the pencil that I laid down on top of the bookcase when I had a ladder out hanging things on the wall and have not retrieved years later.
But that's where the hat landed. And that's where my eyes were drawn five or more times a day for a whole month. As I walked in and out of the front door, as I left and returned to my desk to work, as I turned off lights to go to bed each night -- I inadvertently glanced up at his out-of-the-way hat.
When the time came for me to travel (not lightly), I reluctantly pulled it down off the shelf, filled it with tissue paper, and lowered it into a shopping bag protectively. I wished I'd forgotten the fedora there on the shelf. I didn't want to stop seeing that reminder of him so many times a day.
Now the room, filled with our own backpacks and book bags and shoes and photos and winter coats, and the bookcase, cluttered with journals and albums and novels and trinkets, looks empty.
He's still living a long plane ride away, but his hat is already hanging here.
- How Lil E sees me
- Forget the head (or yikes! that I wrote that phrase at all): Here's how to take care of your high-heeled feet at BlogHer or anywhere you walk miles on crappy hotel carpeting
- If I ever see you wear this, I will kick your lady arse. And then ask if I can try it on to post funny pictures on Facebook