My New Favorite Shirt by Benjamin Friedman

Hey honey, quick question for you: while you were down in the laundry room, did you happen to see my new favorite shirt in the basket or the machine?


Which is ‘my new favorite shirt’?


Oh come on honey, you know the one! You got it for me just last month!


Yes, that’s right, the XXL lime-green number you had customized for me online, with the blurry closeup of me biting into a dripping, undercooked veggie burger while looking up at you in surprise (like I’m thinking, “are you seriously taking my picture right now?”) printed on it – in a grainy black and white box formatted much too big for the shirt… that also managed to cut off the top of my head somehow?


You know? That photo you also posted on Instagram the next day with the hashtag #relationshipgoals, which I told you didn’t even make sense, to which you responded it was because you were, “halfway to making me a vegan for life,” and that was a major “relationship goal” for you, even though I’ve said so many times that I’m just eating less red meat while we quarantine together to spare you certain bathroom smells… but that that didn’t mean the change was permanent… and for some reason that made you cry for like an hour after that?

Right! I know! I can’t believe it’s missing either! It looked so good on me. A real attention-grabbing-head-turner, whenever you begged me to wear it out for our socially-distanced-strolls, with our matching Harry Potter-themed facemasks on (yes, I still love that mask – this isn’t about Hogwarts, honey!).


It must be here somewhere, right? Hiding within these 400 square feet of living space we’re confined to 99.9% of the time? I mean, it’s unimaginable we could lose something so treasured in such a small space, isn’t it? In my, I mean our, little one-bedroom apartment which we’ve managed to share together so continuously and …wonderfully… throughout this pandemic, ever since your roommates and parents all got sick that same weekend we were hooking up that one time… I mean… our first time…back in March…


Yes, of course I checked the drawers! And the closet! And the hamper! And the other closet! And the floor! I checked everywhere! No, not the laundry room, babe; that’s where you just were. And you said yourself you didn’t see it with you in the basket or the machine, so…

Oh honey, don’t cry. I loved that shirt too… so much! It was my new favorite!


And if you really want, I’ll go down and double-check the drier just to be sure it didn’t get stuck against the inside wall, near the filter. I mean where else could it possibly be, in these especially trying times of global crisis? Tossed out the window accidentally, fluttering six flights into traffic? Stolen by magic elves, who mistook it for a gigantic loose sock?

Spontaneous combustion?


I don’t have any better explanation honey; believe me, I’ve tried coming up with several… But you know, I will always cherish the memory of that dress-sized shirt in all its lime-green, poorly-cropped loveliness, and how much it came to represent for me this long, long term we’ve served together, in this medically mandated romantic getaway from the whole wide world...


And we’ll always have the many, many photos of me wearing it around the apartment that you took without my consent and posted all over your social media pages to enjoy too…

Now, why don’t you go get some rest on my – I mean our – bed, as I go check the laundry room one last time to be sure it’s definitely lost...


And I may as well also take this one tiny bag of trash out to the bins for us while I’m at it...

Yes, of course I already checked in here for the shirt – thoroughly! Right! While you were drying the laundry... so, no… no need to open it up again, I promise. It’s just some old greenish dish rags I’ve been meaning to get rid of for a while now...


What’s that?


Aw, honey, no, please don’t take my picture again.... I’m a sweaty mess and I’m in no mood for… ugh, fine.


What’s that now? Do I think that photo will make a “cute new shirt design” for me?

No honey; you really shouldn’t waste any more of your money on stuff like that on my account… not when there’s so many necessities I could actually use help with these days… like rent and groceries? Besides, there’s simply no replacement for my old favorite shirt, which we tragically just lost… remember? What? You hit order already? Coming by next Thursday – expedited delivery? Lime green again?!


Oh, wow… thanks honey... I… I love it…


I’m sure it will be my ‘new favorite shirt’ in no time…