Friday, November 18, 2011

The Single Sock

By Susan Cross

She looked down at the sock on the floor. After folding tee shirts and underwear she had paired the socks, tucking the ends one inside the other to hold them together. Yet, she stared at the lonely sock. It was the inevitable single; no match.

Kim got up and walked back to the laundry room to check the dryer again; then the washer. Both were empty. There were no socks on the floor.

Slowly, contemplating where missing socks go, she walked into the bedroom and put the shirts in a drawer. His socks and undershorts, both boxers and briefs, shared the one above it. Leaning over, she picked up the sock and examined it looking for a hole in the heel or toe that would justify throwing the leftover in the trash without feeling guilty. No holes. No frayed edges. A clean sock without a partner.

Most likely, the other sock would magically appear next week but maybe not. Growing up, her mother’s rule was that you don’t throw things away unless they’re broken or damaged. She pondered. Could you donate one sock to charity? Do one legged men shop at thrift stores? Do homeless men wear unmatched socks when the weather gets cold? Would the owner of a store even take it and put it together with a similar sock that was also singular or should she just toss it out?

She brought her mind back into the bedroom and the sock in her hand. She opened the drawer and counted a dozen pairs of white ones with gray heels and toes.

The ringing phone shook her out of her reverie. As she picked it up she remembered she was supposed to be at her daughter’s house in ten minutes to pick her and her little boy up to go to the doctor. Her daughter was counting on her. She didn’t want to go alone. They would be getting test results that would determine where on the autistic spectrum her grandson fell and what the long term treatment would be.

With the phone in her hand Kim dropped the sock in the drawer and said, “I’m glad you called. I got caught up in something and lost track of time. I’ll leave right away and be there in about five minutes. Don’t worry, honey, it will all work out. Things have a way of falling into place.”