“BEAUTY AND SADNESS,
FASHION AND HOPE, AND DENNIS”
I got this T-shirt in 1995. It’s the perfect shirt. Bright blue, vintage, and it says HEAVENLY LAKE TAHOE in white letters. When I look at the shirt, I see a whole lifetime, a million life- times. I see beauty and sadness, fashion and hope, and Dennis.
I bought it at a store on Melrose, in L.A., when I was trying to make it as a model and working next door as a hostess. I had two lives then: I was following Phish around, selling ganja goo balls in the parking lot, and also running wild in New York’s fashion scene. The shirt translated to both worlds. I used to wear it with maroon pants from the Salvation Army and Nikes. My life was a mess then but when I was in that outfit, in that shirt, I felt like I was keeping it all together.
That summer I was living in L.A. with my best friends, Oona and Dennis. Dennis loved the shirt and wore it all the time. That was a long time ago. It’s been 11 years since Dennis committed suicide. I wore the shirt to shreds, until one arm fell off, but I saved it.
One morning a few years after his death, I knew I was finally ready to say goodbye to him. I woke up early and decided that I was going to throw the shirt in the East River. But when I got to the river, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t say goodbye to it. I loved that shirt. Even if I found the same shirt online, even if it fit like a glove, it wouldn’t be the same because I want Dennis back.