My sister used to wear a shirt that made me both cringe and howl laughing. It was a wifebeater (charming) and she ironed on the words FUCKING WHORE and it was deliberately two sizes too small and she'd wear it whenever she'd go out for the mail or answer the door for a package. Sometimes no panties. She was a free spirit. My brother David, a mailman, got lots of reports from his coworkers on what my sister would or wouldn't wear when she'd answer the door. She wouldn't be shamed. God I loved that nerve, that screw you attitude. She said I was her hero, but she was mine too.
I found it among her things after she'd died. Of everything she had, all the boxes full of shit, nothing made me cry more than that shirt. I remember the last time I saw her wearing it, I was probably still living in the area, and was picking something up from her apartment and waiting outside for her, and she came out with some new guy. She was barefoot and wearing leggings and that godawful shirt and she pointed her chin in his direction and said, 'That's Brian', and he said to me, 'I'ma gon' marry your sister. I keep telling her', and I met her eyes and said to him ruefully, 'Brother, you got delusions of grandeur. You're just a flavor of the month', and she burst out laughing and I drove off. Nobody told Lisa what to do. Nobody ever would. She died with fire inside her.
I couldn't fit into that shirt when I found it so I'd wrap it around a pillow and cry all night, many nights missing her. Missing her power and her fire and spirit. And today I found it. I forgot that I'd grabbed it and stuffed it in a bag with the few meager things I took when I left the asshole. I put it on and it fit perfectly. Yes, she died with fire inside her, but she left her spirit for me.