The great sadness of old socks

Over time I have amassed a considerable collection of single socks.  I would do a load of laundry, and find that there were a few socks that were lacking their mate. These halves of a pair I would throw into a drawer, intending that when another load of laundry was complete, I would match them with their partner, who would likely be in the next load of laundry, to make them one whole pair.

It started as a few straggler socks, lonely without their symbiotic pair.  A few were reunited with their necessary tandem after several weeks, which reduced the size of the assemblage of singles. But after the reuniting process, still there were lefts yearning for rights, or vice versa, in the way that socks need their complement to be whole.

Weeks changed to months, and the sock collection expanded.  The handful became a quarter of a drawer, and then the quarter became a half.  I began merging the desolate hermits less and less, as the task of sorting through the mass of solitary socks began as a simple task, then became a deliberate exercise, and afterwards became an actual chore.

The months rolled into years, the fusion process was executed less and less, and the footprint taken by the socks increased even more.  The half a drawer had become not a full drawer, but almost two full drawers of despondent pedimantles. The periodic execution of the joining process took an incredible amount of time, and still most of the same patterned shoe to foot buffers were left to wallow in solitude in their twenty-four by twelve by three inch graves.

Today, the interminable accumulation would cease.  All of my laundry was washed and clean, and all lingering solo socks were added to the repository for wandering foot covers.  The old, solitary, yearning, socks would have their release.  I dumped out both drawers and arranged them the best that I could to try, for the last time, to remarry them to their one true match.  With some, I was successful, and the reunion of twenty to thirty pairs made me genuinely happy.  But there were so many left without their equal, which they had waited for so terribly long.  It seemed almost unfair, to have held on to these socks for years and years and years, providing them false hope that they would end up with the half that they were lacking, making them complete.  In others, it was abjectly tragic to merge them with their long-lost companion.  One would still have brightness of color, and vividness of pattern, while somehow, the other would have gone through a fading process, the tint of the color muted and paled, the stitches loose, and the elasticity stretched and loose.  They belonged together, clearly, by simple glance only, but in constitution, they were markedly different.  I did the best that I could, gave the maximum amount of search time that I could bear, and with impeccable scrutiny, tried to make each half, whole again.

But in the end, there were still countless unfulfilled dreams of unity.  The number of sad, unintentionally abandoned socks littered the room.  They would never find their partner, their sense of purpose was lost.  They had hung on for years, anxiously half-slumbering while their necessary compliment lay half awake a conceptual eon away.

I gathered all the withered, saddened, solitary, socks together, that they may feel a temporary modicum of wholeness, and delivered them to a bag where they would soon make a journey to oblivion.  I solemnly regarded the empty drawers where the unaccompanied, and immensely patient, incomplete solo socks had hopefully remained.

And I began to fill the empty drawer space with whole, complete, pairs.

Humbly yours,


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