It used to be I would collect a t shirt from some market like the Central Market in Phnom Penh. It was a marker. A thing. Often it said something like
Other times a sentiment or a saying. In Cambodia and other places they say
Same same but different
Here there are lots of t shirts that poke fun at Trump or the wall like
Build tacos not walls
So when I walk here and there I think of a t shirt. The perfect shirt. The one above all others. The one when I find, my other shirts will fade into the background. Will be angry and disappointed and will try to hide the perfect one. I’ll hear the sleeves of their discontent.
So I promise. A t shirt or a cap. A memory. Truth is I have gone through so many shirts from wherever. The t shirt graveyard might be full. Yet I must continue.
Then a friend reminds me…
Don’t forget your t shirt from puerto Vallarta. Maybe get me one too. Now I’m locked in. Two shirts. Not the same because when I get back to Vietnam I don’t wanna give the same one I'm wearing. So I go shopping at various souvenir shops. I see shirts I could buy. They wave at me and their sayings are pithy and cute and I could see L wearing one. But I have this fantasy. This T shirt fantasy. I want one that sums up the experience or the place or the feeling. I left then with one shirt that is the shirt. I knew it. The shirt knew it. It is a beautiful brown color with a map on the front of Vietnam. It has all the cities emblazoned. It know it rules the roost. I also bought shirts in Santa Fe and Albuquerque perhaps and Flagstaff. Hell, I even bought a cap in Flagstaff. The t shirt fantasy does not care about caps.
So now I sit and remember all the shirts and the places. What I collected at some local market or what someone gave me. When I bought the Vietnam shirt in Can Tho before seeing my Lily. I have not seen Lily for quite some time. My T shirt cries some tears. When I look ahead, I don't see Vietnam in front of me. There is nothing in front besides the t shirt I bought today that says Puerto Vallarta.
Jealous Vietnam T shirt? It is all a fantasy anyways. Have a beer and some tacos.