When my aunt and uncle returned from holiday with this denim wallet as my present, I was disappointed. ‘It’s ugly!’ I thought, but said thank you out loud instead. Children can be so great at gratitude, can’t they? I kept it in my box of knick knacks for a few years, partly because I thought it unsightly (I was 7 so had no taste. Or, as I’ve gotten older I’ve lost all style, not sure which) and because they’d given a similar one to my older sister, and under no circumstances was I having the same wallet as her. Gosh.
When hers eventually faded and the flowers fell off (I think hers had fluro flowers instead of beads) I took mine out of the dark and began to use it. Besides, my surfer style wallet wasn’t cool anymore – I’m not painting a nice picture of what I was like as a child, am I? This one was small and unique. Couple these attributes with being (now) the only one of it’s kind in my town and it started to grow on me. Slowly the wallet became more friend than foe with every loyalty card added and money kept safe.
I got a lot of compliments on it, though these generally happened in his final years as my peers stopped fussing childishly over big brand names (I know it says ‘Levis’ but I also know it was made in a country known for er, pirating, so it’s authenticity is questionable, this reinforcing the ‘cool’ for everyone). “Wow! That’s awesome!” They’d exclaim, cigarette in one hand, coffee in the other, “Very cool.” It wasn’t all compliments though, for every ‘cool’ it, and in extension I, received there was always a counter ‘are you going to get a proper wallet?’ A proper one. What does that mean?
By now, old denim is a worn remnant of what once was a very clean, properly sewn, beaded-next-to-that-yellow-button wallet. When the inside started coming apart I knew it was time to say goodbye lest it gets wrecked beyond repair. I returned it to that box of childhood knick knacks in the darkened corner of the wardrobe (also known as ‘Barbie Graveyard’). Now, I have a ‘proper’ wallet. Sturdy leather. That won’t wear out in a hurry, and it does have more room for cards… Still, I am very happy to say that there has been one thing I owned in my life that was mine, and only mine.