birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Patchwork

I've been collecting scraps in order to recreate my favorite jeans I wore as a teenager, the ones that made me feel quirky and pretty and confident and made my butt look real nice. They were made entirely of square patches of different-colored stretchy denim, light to dark, sewn together with thick, visible seams of dark blue threads.

You'd think they'd match with anything, but I only liked wearing solid-colored tee shirts or tanks with those jeans. I felt especially boss in black with my black kicks and gold hoop earrings.

I don't know where we purchased them. It wasn't often we went shopping, let alone somewhere other than Walmart, the thrift store, or the flea market, and I can't find replicas anywhere. I mean, it's been nearly two decades.

The last time those jeans fit me I was maybe 15. I remember their last outing. My tío came to visit our state for the first time, and we took him to the local botanical gardens. I'd been volunteering at the nearby zoo and hoped to run into my crush. I had it all imagined. I'd be inspecting a tropical bloom in my badass outfit, the perfect mix of curious environmentalist and urban no-nonsense, and I'd then surprise him with the Latin name.

Of course that didn't happen, but we took the weirdest, most fantastic informal family pics ever, and I got to spend time with my uncle, who much preferred our Southern paradise after a hard life in fast cities. I'll always remember that outing, not only because of the pictures, but also because he died only weeks later, and boy did he love that greenhouse of tropical plants in which my imaginary boyfriend and I fell in love.

Black bistro with black tie

Grey Flannel - Warm When Wet