Vintage Story Contest Winners!
"Weathered Old Jeans" By David Lazar
I ambled into the county lockup that blistering July day.
It was hot, squalid, and empty is all I can say,
But for a lone man sitting in a corner cell,
With a Marlboro in his mouth and some weathered old jeans with a story to tell.
I said, "Those things are more beat up than the rusty door on this jail."
He said, "Sit your butt down, son – I'll tell you a tale,
Of how these dungarees here got the fancy patina you see
From the day I bought them back in 2003.
"Was my first trip to New York since returning from the war.
The jeans I'd worn since school were all mangled and tore,
So, I walked down Crosby Street and saw a shop where jeans were sold,
For the money I paid for these Rockers, they must've been made of gold.
But when I put'em on, I knew they'd weather whatever the good Lord brought.
The next day I hopped a bus westward... and so began the onslaught.
"The first rip happened at a bar in Cleveland, when a steelworker's girl caught my eye,
And I earned a busted nose for the privilege and a broken bottle in my thigh.
It wouldn't end there, as you can plainly see;
These weathered old jeans would take a lickin' for me.
They've been bitten by mean dogs, knee-deep in manure, chewed by barbed wire;
In 2011, they barely survived a forest fire.
I was herding cattle near Houston one day when my beltloop caught on a hitch,
And that farm truck drug me for a half mile before dumping me in a ditch.
I was bleeding and cursing and wailing, my shirt all tattered,
But those weathered old jeans still clung to me, and that's all that mattered.
I've made small fortunes and lost them and a couple women across this land.
Everything in life has come and gone,
but these weathered old jeans somehow keep hanging on.
So, when I make it out of this jam, the first place I'll be headed
Is that shop on Crosby Street to trade in these dungarees I've shredded.
I know when I turn 'em in, part of me's gonna be real sorry
But I know a new pair's out there that needs weathering and its very own story."
By Jen Mecum
These jeans are just about the only thing that have never walked out on me, Eddie thought as he glanced down at his knees. Though they could - they hadn't been washed since Melanie, winter of '15.
A paper airplane landed in his lap. He looked up, absently reinforcing the creases with his fingers. "Whats this?"
"An invoice. Everything you owe me. I have supporting documents, so don't make me get a court order." Gabby looked better than ever as she wrapped a linen scarf around her shoulders. His girlfriends always looked the most appealing to him right before they dumped him.
"Dating a lawyer was a mistake," he remarked aloud.
Gabby tossed the keys on the mattress next to Eddie and didn't bother to close the door. The resulting silence seemed more final than any parting words.
Eddie sighed, his breath mingling with the warm summer breeze drifting through the house. Half the place was empty and the other half was a mess. He had to get out.
Eddie let his rusty cruiser drop to the ground as he dismounted in one smooth motion. His sunbrown feet padded softly down the warm sand, carrying him toward the waves. Once he reached the water he didn't pause, just kept wading into the li mitless brine. Gabby, summer of '18, he noted as the cleansing water soaked the parched denim.
The sun sparkled brilliantly across the horizon, highlighting the ocean's endless potential. Eddie dove beneath the surface, washing every last bit of Gabby from him, then strode up the shore.
"Need a towel?" A curious voice chirped, closer than he realized. Eddie brushed the crusted strands of too-long hair out of his eyes and turned to see a girl, baking in the sun next to her surfboard. She tossed him her towel.
"I'm Lily." She reached out her hand, and he took it.
By Tyler Houchin
"You're done, finished. Five foot nine."
This is what I heard from my doctor on my 15-year-old check-up, just as I was entering my freshman year of high school. I was done growing. Goodbye were the days of having to buy adjustable pants and cheap shoes knowing that I wouldn't fit into them after a few months. I could finally buy clothes with the intention of wearing them indefinitely. And that's exactly what I did.
On my last day of summer before I started high school, I rode my bike downtown and bought my first real article of clothing: a pair of jeans that would be mine forever. I immediately put them on and wore them as often as I could. They became not only a part of my identity but a physical log of all of my experiences. The tears and fraying at the bottom are results of my near-death experiences waeving through cars and accidentally rubbing my pant leg up against the chain of the bike -- by sophomore year I would learn the trick from my dad of rolling up the right side so this wouldn't be an issue. The rip on my right leg was one that I will never forget. Junior year. I finally asked out this girl from my biology class who I was convinced was my soulmate. Turns out her boyfriend sat right behind her and he threw me to the ground. Hard. When my mom asked me what had happened, I lied and told her that I fell off my bike when I was on my way home. Ironically, the following week I fell on my bike on the way home from school, scuffing up my left knee and ending my track season. The rip in my pocket was accumulated over time from my dog, Cody, jumping up on my lap and scratching on it. I did'nt want my mom to fix the tear because Cody loved to do it, but when I lost my wallet senior year, losing all of my money, I finally let her patch it up.
Now, in my five foot nine adulthood, I put these jeans on and I'm immediately transported to my five foot nine youth and all of the memories, good and bad, that come with it. These pants represent a milestone in my life. Some have a yearbook, I have jeans.