by Janan Zaitoun
I quickly opened the door of the washing machine, and unloaded the laundry into the basket. It was a full load — all tangled up together. After a wrestling match with the laundry, I finally emptied the drum. Or so I thought!
Just before closing the door of the machine, I noticed a sock! It was stuck to the inner wall of the drum, hiding from me behind the agitator. The sock had originally been bright red. Call me crazy, but it looked like it had changed to greyish-red. It was as if it was trying to blend in with the color of the drum, so I wouldn’t notice it. A question ran through my mind, was this sock preparing to escape?
I pulled (what seemed like) the “claws” of the sock from the wall of the drum. Then, I moved over to the dryer and began loading it. As I put in a pink T-shirt, I noticed something moving right next to my feet. I jolted with a scream, lost balance, and fell into the laundry basket.
Thank God my fall had been cushioned by the clothes in the basket, otherwise I would not have been able to do what happened next.
“Hey!” I shouted, “Come back here”. It was the sock! It was crawling towards the door. I jumped to my feet with difficulty, and as soon as I did, the sock began to run! So I ran too!
I never thought a sock could run that fast. It managed to crawl swiftly under the closed door. I opened the door and watched as it managed to climb up the big steps, but it was not fast enough. At that point I knew that the sock-chase was over.
I slowly picked it up from the third step, lifting it to eye level. “What on earth are you doing?” I asked disapprovingly. It curled and fiercely shook itself, trying to break free from my fingers. “Where do you think you’re going, huh?” I asked the sock again, not really knowing if it could speak or not. The sock finally gave up and stopped moving.
For a second there I thought I had imagined the whole episode, and that it was just a normal sock. At that moment, the sock wriggled and wrinkled itself in the middle, forming what appeared to be a mouth. A squeaky voice said, “I’m running away.” I blinked twice in bewilderment. “From me?” I asked. I almost sounded hurt. “No, from myself”, the shrill voice squeaked again. And the rest of the dream-like conversation sounded something like this:
“I hate being a sock. That’s why.”
“Because socks don’t get to see places. We’re always hidden in a shoe.”
“What’s wrong with you? What you mean why?”
I shook my head, trying to collect my senses and sound a bit more intelligent in front of the sock.
“Umm… I meant to ask… uuh… why do you want to… umm… see places?”
“Who doesn’t?! Shoes are so lucky they get to see everything.”
“Are you saying you want to be like a shoe?”
“No. I’m saying I want to be one. In fact, I’m GOING to be one.”
“But you can’t be a shoe!”
“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t be.”
“I’m just saying. Be yourself, be a sock.”
“But I don’t want to be a sock!”
At this point the squeaky voice was turning aggressive, so I knew I’d have to change my tone too. Therefore, I chose a calmer one.
“Listen, believe it or not, even human beings go through what you’re going through. Everybody wonders what it’ll be like to be somebody else… well, in your case, something else. Anyways, the point is, we are all in different situations for a reason. You could put yourself through an exhausting quest to be someone else, but that would be like chasing a bubble — it will only pop when you touch it. The wiser decision, if you ask me, would be to strive for your own personal journey and reach your own unique optimum.”
By now I was sitting on the staircase and had the sock sitting right next to me.
“So, how do I reach my unique optimum?”
I hadn’t thought that far ahead! My eyes quickly scanned the staircase from top to bottom searching for an answer. As soon as my eyes fell on my bare feet, I knew I had found one!
“You can reach your unique optimum by… umm… keeping the foot that’s wearing you as warm as you can.”
“But what’s so unique about that?”
At that moment, I realized I would have to put my ‘wise hat’ on in front of this smart sock!
“Umm… you see… socks are like… uuh… words. There are warm words and then there are cool, even cold words. You can either choose to be a warm sock or a cold sock. Just like warm words keep the heart cozy, warm socks keep the toes toasty.”
I liked the sound of that! Noticeably, most of the sock’s wrinkles had disappeared.
“You know what?” The squeaky voice said, “I think you’re right. Now, can you please put me in the dryer? I’m getting the chills.” I then saw something I’m pretty sure no one else had ever seen before. The sock smiled. It then said: “You don’t want me to be a cold sock now, do you?!”
By Janan Zaitoun