Fashionable girlEvery native Coloradan knows that even if it’s a nice day, you are going to want to bring a lightjacket or sweater with you if you plan to be out past sunset. I know this. Colorado has been my home since birth.

My story begins on an Indian Summer day in mid-October. The blue sky, bright sun, seventy-five degree weather did not fool me. I knew that, even though the current temperature called for a tank top and skirt, I would regret not being prepared after sunset. So I dressed in layers, as I typically do when it’s not summer: leggings under my dress, short boots, a scarf, and my brandnew, long, cream colored Prana sweater. I was prepared for the drastic temperature drop that I knew was coming.

At the same time, somewhere else in Boulder, there was another young woman getting ready for the day. She looked out the window and saw the hot sun and blue sky and chose her outfit, but she left her sweater at home, hopefully for the last time.

I was newly single on this particular October day. My girlfriends were taking me out to go dancing at an obnoxiously loud and sweaty dance club in downtown Boulder– not my typical scene. Like everyone else, we got to the club and proceeded to lay our things down in a corner. I do remember taking out my ID and credit cards, just in case someone had particularly sticky fingers. My sweater – you know, the cream colored Prana one, size medium – was amongst these belongings.

Once we were free of our things, we danced. We danced for hours and we drank. Then w edanced and drank some more. It was one of those nights. We shut the club down. They were kicking everyone out, so we went over and grabbed our things. My purse was there, untouched. All of my friends retrieved everything they brought, but one thing was missing – my size medium, cream colored Prana sweater. I made a drunken declaration at that moment announcing loudly to everyone that I would get my sweater back no matter what.

Knowing that someone must have taken it, my friends and I went to scope out all of the drunk people stuck outside the club trying to figure out where to go now that they bars were closed. That’s when I saw her. The girl who left her house ill prepared. Dark hair, black dress, noleggings. She was wearing my sweater. My friends walked up with me to confront her. She denied it, saying that it belonged to her roommate, but I was very persistent. Plus, I knew she was lying. The sweater, my sweater, completely clashed with her outfit. And she didn’t look like the kind of girl who lacked a sense of style – after all she did choose my sweater from a very large selection. Her nasty boyfriend was with her and threatened me with his fist. I was drunk, but not drunk enough to get into a fist fight, so I let them walk off.

I turned to cross the street and parked right next to me was a cop car. There was hope yet that I might reunite with my sweater! I rushed over and knocked on the window, abandoning my friends behind me. I explained what had happened and pointed to the girl and her boyfriend, who were turning the corner just ahead onto Broadway. The officers unlocked the back door and told me to jump in, so I did. This was my first and only experience sitting in the hard plastic back seat of a police car. They drove forward slowly and turned onto Broadway just as I saw the girl get onto the Skip bus with her asshole boyfriend. I shouted for the police to pull the bus over, and can you believe it? They did!

We all stepped out of the car (I think I was probably inside less than a minute) and they went onto the bus. They pulled off one girl – wrong sweater. Then they pulled out the girl wearing my sweater. The police went back and forth between us, getting information: “What size was the sweater you purchased?”

“Medium”

“Do you still have the receipt?”

“Yes”

“Do you have any photographs of you wearing the sweater today?”

“Yes!”

I finally got my sweater back. I put it over my chilled shoulders and the first thing I did was smell it. It smelled like smoke. I inspected it more carefully and found a cigarette burn on the cuff. I don’t smoke. I guess it could have happened that night, but a different thought entered my mind when I saw that round burn mark. Did I have the right sweater? Was she telling the truth? I didn’t know then, and I still don’t know. But what I do know is that you should always bring your own sweater, but if you forget, don’t steal mine, because I will get it back, no matter what it takes.

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Screen-Shot-2015-01-14-at-2.10.05-PMAva Klinger lives in Lafayette, CO. Her greatest passions include permaculture, dance, art, right livelihood, education, food, travel, history and the art of storytelling. Ava graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2007 with a degree in Humanities with an emphasis in Russian History and German Language. After several years working for Gaia University as an admissions counselor she decided to take her education to the next level. In Fall, 2014, Ava enrolled in a Masters degree program with Gaia University. In addition to work and school, Ava is currently working on her debut novel, the first book in her young-adult trilogy. She is also a professional member of the Boulder Writers’ Workshop.