A Laundry Love Story
When the wind was cold and the days were short, the sock and the glove, surrounded by their mitten and toe-sock children, told the stories of their lives, and the story their children loved the most, the one they begged to hear again and again, was the story of how they fell in love and escaped the lives forced upon them.
They met before the last brittle leaves fell from the trees. He was there every week – sometimes twice – tumbling with the t-shirts, the underwear, the jeans. She was new and beautiful. Her bright stripes flashed past and caught him unaware, piercing through his dull, white façade. Instinctively he reached for her and to his surprise she grabbed hold, happy to find someone to cling to in this frightening new place.
He liked to think of himself as a left sock, though in truth they were all the same – an anonymous collective. The other socks disapproved of his individuality, but he endured their censure as he endured his dark days of toil.
Three weeks passed before he saw her again. That was the way of gloves. They held themselves aloof. But not her. She found him and told him about all of the wonderful things she did. He listened raptly as she described the smooth texture of an apple, or the lazy warmth of a cup of coffee. In turn he told her of the miles he had travelled, the sound leaves made as they crackled underfoot, and how the resonant tapping of a shoe on wood always made him smile. They fell in love.
They saw each other infrequently, and as fall hardened into winter and they understood that each meeting brought them closer to the long separation of spring and summer. One January afternoon they made their plans. Damn the consequences, they would escape.
Nearly a month later, on a Sunday evening, they found their chance. The fluorescent light in the laundry room was flickering uncertainly, casting strange shadows. When everyone was being pulled out of the dryer, they hid, huddling together in the darkest spot they could find. Several of the socks saw them and muttered their disapprobation, but one old sock, frayed and losing his elastic, whispered his good wishes.
They curled up together for hours, waiting for deepest part of the night. Silently they made their way up the old wooden stairs, across the linoleum with the flower pattern, and out the cat door to freedom. They made a home under an oak tree and though in time her bright colors faded and his crisp white turned dull gray, they always saw each other as they had been the first time they met.