Bought a new belt this morning. Pretty weird stuff for me… My old belt has seen me through thick and thin, and gathered a few stories along the way. So, this is the ode to The Old Belt, i suppose.
The Old Belt came into my life about 11 years ago. Krista found it in a thrift shop somewhere, probably the good ol’ Sally Ann in W.L. i started wearing it more than she, and gradually took over sole ownership. Looking back, it’s strange to think that she ended up with the art, the appliances, the furniture, etc., while all i made off with was her heart and this Old Belt.
The Belt was always what i called a “Cop Belt”, the sort you see supporting all the paraphernalia at an officer’s waist; thick black leather embossed with that peculiar basket-weave pattern and sporting a plain, heavy steel buckle. Even before Krista got it, the belt had that great curve at the back, the kind that only heavy leather can develop after years of use.
The Belt was always frightfully long. The tongue had been punched out to accomodate much smaller waists than Krista’s or mine, yet was simultaneously so much longer than either of us would use. When i wore the belt, i doubled the long tongue back through the belt loops, and over time, it developed a permanent crease at the fold. It became part of my dressing ritual; thread the belt, buckle it, thread the long tongue through the loops past the buckle, fold at the crease, and thread back. Three layers of thick leather over my left hip.
The first summer after Krista and i parted, i had been crashing up at Serious’s place on Schmidt. Between a few breakups and a newly renewed fitness urge, i’d been losing some weight, and the length of the belt was getting awkward. One afternoon, Serious and i were on a bit of a cleaning rampage (Serious has usually maintained that if you need more than a couple bags and a foamie, you own too much crap), and our attention turned to the Belt. Really, it was comically long…
Part of me wanted to cut it, but then there was that part that needed to keep that length, “just in case”. Serious goaded me into it, and i cut the belt, short of the crease. The ridiculous part was when i reached to save that piece of cut-off leather. There was something about it that compelled me to save it. Serious scoffed, took it from my grasp, and tossed it in the garbage, not unfeelingly (he’s a sensitive guy himself), but as much to save me from myself.
A couple days ago, the belt finally gave way. The attachment at the buckle end mostly parted, leaving the buckle tenuously connected, and fairly askew. For one chuckling moment, i though that i could have re-cut the belt and renewed the attachment point… if only the darned thing was longer! Even now (with new belt around my waist, the least-loathsome plain black unit i could find), i’m looking at The Old Belt, coiled beside the computer, wondering what to do with it. Serious isn’t here to help me toss it…
Perhaps, i will re-cut and repair it, leaving it too short for my own use; there’s still much life and spirit left in that leather, for someone (a little smaller at the waist) to enjoy.