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A Jacket’s Curse

Sarai Acevedo-Charon, Staff Writer

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How can something used for protection be troubling for some people? It’s not even supposed to physically torture you. Its presence is not supposed to make you cry or fall into a depression. I can’t imagine how trauma occurs from a simple object.

A jacket. A simple jacket or a coat. It is impermeable from dreary weather. That protection that makes me so invincible that I would bring out the superhero in me. Just like a superhero, I sometimes feel like I’m in defeat, but I keep going for my sake and the sake of my loved ones.

There are times when using a jacket protects me, but with style. One occasion was that day in June this past year when the temperature was about 70 degrees. While my patriotic people are sweating their pride off at the Puerto Rican Day Parade on 5th Ave, I’m up in Yonkers going to church and my best friend’s house wearing my purple high school choir jacket. That purple jacket with no hood that is so impermeable it feels as if you’re lying down on a yoga mat when you sit back in a chair.

As I’m leaving to go to mass with my best friend, I wear my jacket. It was an early morning mass, so I knew it was going to be a little chilly. I go home to eat lunch. My best friend picks me up from my house to go to her house. I keep my jacket hanging on my arm just in case the weather gets cold later on. It was the first time I went to her house and I didn’t know what to expect. As soon as I get into her car, she complains about my jacket.

But that’s not all, she started hating on my jacket. Her daughter who was 13 years old at the time had clothes that she didn’t want anymore. She was about the same size as me, so my best friend gave me some clothes to try on while we were there. She starts criticizing me about the clothes I have. She also kept comparing me to her daughter, telling me that I don’t do some of the things she does like I don’t take care of myself. Those clothes fit me, but I’m not trying to be 13. I was 20.

The next morning, I had a realization. That moment was when I started complaining about all these things. I remember she told me she didn’t want to see me with that jacket ever again. I was crying in my bed thinking about my purple choir jacket. I love my jacket because it showed the talented part of me that I have been holding since I was a little girl. I was an amazing singer whether I sang as a soloist, in a duet or in a choir. The music that keeps me moving no matter my feelings or what I went through. The point is that I was reliving a nightmare.

The nightmare from age 7. I was a second grader who excelled academically, but had behavior issues and was always hyper. I was a problem in my class. I had a problem with a classmate that could have been avoided if I didn’t hit her with my jacket. I hit her with my black jacket because she said something I didn’t like. She told our teacher. Our teacher told me to never do that again.

“Can you bring this coat to the office.”

Those were the words the teacher told another student who was standing near us. I remember whining about how much I needed that jacket.

The battle between my ignorance and my jacket got even messier. This battle went from my teacher warning me about my coat going into the office when I misbehaved to one of my classmates playing jokes with me about taking my jacket when we had a substitute teacher.

One day, I misbehaved in class when the school day was ending. From what I remember, this happened about half an hour or possibly more before dismissal. My misbehavior led my teacher to make two of my classmates take my coat from my assigned cubby and actually bring it to the office.

“Is it in the office?”

“Yes.”

“Where did you put it?”

“On the chair.”

That moment I realized things were real. I thought my world was falling apart and that I was going home frozen. I was on the borderline between my mom caring and not caring about me going home without a coat. I was crying hysterically. I was losing it.

Then, she sent those same classmates to the office to bring my coat back to the classroom. They came back with my coat and actually put it back in my cubby.

I never gave that day too much thought over the years. I started remembering it the day after my experience with my purple jacket. Even though that most recent situation was not a bad as the one from second grade, I realized that a small thing such as a jacket could take a moral toll in a person’s life.

My bad behavior years later turned into karma. Issues that I wanted to maintain hidden made me stay quiet about the issue I had with my purple jacket. I was trying to protect myself. I didn’t want anyone to notice my defeat. I wanted to be my own superhero.

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A Jacket’s Curse