Highway Sweater

I used to clean an office building that was located on the opposite side of town from where I live. It took me several weeks of trial and error before I finally found a route to work that allowed me to avoid traffic and shave as much time off of my drive as possible. I tried the highway and cutting straight through town, but, in the end, it was the South Service Road that proved to be my most efficient means of travel.

One afternoon, during my daily commute, I noticed a lonely sweater hanging on the rusty chain-link fence that separated the service road from the highway. The sweater was all kinds of ugly, mixing colours together in such a way that it felt as though someone should be jailed for such a travesty. There was mustard yellow, pea green, fuchsia, turquoise and brown. I felt certain that the individual responsible for the sweater’s inception was surely colourblind or maybe even full-on blind. It was that bad.

The sweater hung on that fence for over three months. Driving passed that stretch of road became the highlight of my commute, as I would excitedly look out the window to see if the sweater was still perched at its post. With each day that passed, my affection for the sweater grew. It had become a symbol of resilience, as well as a prime example of the unnaturalness of man-made fibres. After all, it had endured deluge after deluge that summer, and, by all outward appearances, had eluded decay and all other signs of aging.

Every so often, I would be overwhelmed by the inclination to pull over to the side of the road and take the sweater for my very own. Well, not my very own. I would not keep it for myself. Doing so would surely be a crime. Instead, I pictured myself giving the sweater to a friend on their birthday or perhaps as a Christmas gift. “What is this?!” they would ask me, in a mixture of shock, horror and just a little bit of awe. 

“It is a highway sweater,” I would reply.


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