Once, at American Eagle, I bought boots. They were clunky, 90's boots with orange laces, and they were perfect. They were stomping boots. You could walk miles in them. I loved them. This was probably 16 (or more) years ago.
When I bought the boots, Mum insisted on getting me boot socks, because reasons. We bought four pairs. One was blue fair isle. One was tan and red fair isle. One was a heathered blue, and one was tweedy and brown with a cream fair isle band around the cuff. The subject of my story is the latter pair.
I had the tweedy brown socks for a grand total of a month before one vanished. I was upset. Of all the socks, those were the most versatile, and they were thick and cozy. I missed them.
Now I have to break something to you. It's a bit shocking. I'm sorry to have to ruin your illusions, but I have to tell the truth. Here it is: At this point in my life, my mother was a stone cold sock-thief. She "borrowed" socks from all of us. No one was immune. She used Dad's socks, my socks, whatever pair matched her outfit, she borrowed, washed, and (eventually) returned. I immediately assumed Mum had taken the tweedy brown socks. I fumed.
She claimed she had returned both of them to the drawer (yes, she'd used them). She was certain they both were there. The two of us dug through the entire basement laundry zone, her sock drawer, my sock drawer, The Brother's sock drawer, Dad's sock drawer...but nothing. I held out hope that someday the sock would return.
Many years passed.
Right before I painted my room, I sorted out my sock drawer. I got rid of pairs with holes in them. I had purchased some new pairs of socks from Old Navy on major sale, I needed space for the new socks. I pulled out the lonely tweedy brown sock, I threw it in the bag of socks with holes in them, and pitched them.
Fast forward to this morning. My sock drawer would not close. The Brother and I had finally figured out how to take the drawers out of my furniture recently, so I removed the drawer. Inside, I found a treasure-trove. There were white socks, insteps for shoes, and various other objects that had jumped from the drawer to hide in the back of the dresser.
And there was the other tweedy brown sock.
It had to end this way, I thought as I threw the long-lost tweedy brown sock away. I had held onto that sock for years, convinced that I would only find the lost one after I had given up on the other. I thought I could wait it out, but it was inevitable. I would have been upset if I hadn't been so resigned to the situation. Apparently, 16 years is long enough to grieve for a lost favorite sock.
Poor tweedy brown socks. Now, they will live on as a metaphor for...something. A laundry anecdote. A reason to remove the drawers from my furniture more than once every 16 years.
* This problem has improved since I started obsessively doing all my own laundry and refusing to allow others to touch it for fear of shrunken clothes. Now no socks are waiting in a laundry basket, vulnerable and alone.