Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

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Other people’s clothes maketh the man

Is this your jumper?” I ask Middle who is whipping up something healthy, clean and green with expensive out of season produce in the kitchen as I stir my homemade lentil soup next to him on the stove while simultaneously pulling the dried clothes off various radiators and forming them into cairns on the table. “If it is, can you PLEASE put it away, along with some of the rest of your clothes?”

“Yes mum. Er no, that jumper is Eldest’s. But I’ll have it if he’s not wearing it. I really like it,” he says.

“No! Hands off! We’re not getting into you two fighting over clothing again, all that Pants Wars, Boxer Rebellion stuff… black eyes and cut lips nonsense,” I say.

“Pants, ha, ha. Who says pants…” Middle sniggers to himself.

“I do. And vests. Anyway, it’s not like the house isn’t hoaching with clothing… very little of it mine, I 
might add. You’ve got umpteen jumpers kicking about this place!”

“Umpteen… ha, ha, love you mum. But that jumper, it’s a nice colour. 
And I like the pattern of the knit, subtle.”

He steps closer to stroke it. “And it feels nice, the texture. I think he must have bought this one new.”

(As opposed to found, borrowed, stole, acquired it from what the kids call a vintage and I call a secondhand shop).

“I wish I had a jumper like that,” Middle says wistfully, then steps back to the stove to continue cooking as I pile the tottering clothes cairns higher.

“In fact... I HAVE got a jumper just like that,” he announces.

“Uh-huh. Well maybe it IS this one then?” I say. “In fact I think I’ve seen you in a jumper like this now you mention it... Recently....”

“Nope. That jumper can’t possibly be mine. Not possible. Impossible.”

“Why so sure?”

He turns round to face me and opens up his sheepskin car coat (also vintage, very now, I’d steal it if it wasn’t minus a button).

“Because... I’m wearing it.”