Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Lone Sock

Dear Kim,

Last night while I was going through my closet, finding more and more clothes to send to Goodwill, I came across a sock of yours buried in my sock drawer.

You actually left this sock at my apartment when you visited like ... four years ago. And I kept it, all this time, because I have good intentions but crap follow through, and I have intended to get your sock back to you forever.

Which is kinda weird because I'm sure, had I told you I was saving your sock for you, you would have been like, "Dude, I threw out the mate years ago. Get rid of the sock."

But honestly, the sock never came up in any of our conversations. And every time you visited subsequently, I would forget. And now that you're never going to visit me again, I am not sure what to do.

I know, I should just throw the sock in the Goodwill bag. I know you are probably rolling your eyes at me in whatever agnostic after-life you currently reside. But, as easy as it was for me to throw out almost every single sock I own, I simply couldn't bring myself to throw away your one lone sock.

It's silly, isn't it? But you see, unlike the ring of yours that weighs my hand down with your death every day, the sock is an innocuous reminder of your life. A left-over sock says, "I'm just disorganized so I've been away for awhile. But don't worry, I'm coming back. I need my sock."

I talked to you three weeks before you died, on your birthday. You were tentatively planning a trip to Canada, and I was trying to convince you that LA was a much better option for February. Which, duh, it totally is. "We'll go to Baja," I promised. "I've already been to Mexico," you protested. I forgot this at the time, but ... you've been to Canada as well. Did you forget? Remember the terrible New Years where you got stranded in Canada? You could have already crossed Canada off your list.

When we hung up, I was pretty sure that you had come around to visiting LA instead of Toronto or Quebec. I was looking forward to your visit, and looking forward to taking a day or two off work for our little mini-vacation.

But, you never ended up coming to visit. Instead, three weeks later, it was I who boarded a plane for Chicago. To see your fiance, your friends, your parents, your brother, but not to see you.

The day after the service, Honda and I went to your apartment, and ended up being the ones to bag up all your clothes for the Salvation Army. As I emptied out your drawers, I came across my bra of all things.

It was an old one, that I had handed down to you years ago. I'm pretty sure you never wore it. Frankly, I hope you never wore it, since at that point it would have been a ten year old bra. But you kept it, all the same, buried in your lingerie drawer.

I'm not sure what compelled you to keep that bra, my bra, through seven years and four moves. Maybe you were too lazy to sort through your stuff. Maybe you always thought, "Well, I *might* wear this bra if ... every other bra on the planet was killed in a nuclear explosion."

I can't really say. But I did get a kick out of finding my bra at the bottom of your drawer. Partly because, dude, that bra is OLD, how had you NOT thrown it OUT!, but also partly because it served as a tangible reminder of our bond. You're not really good friends with someone until you share bras, eh?

In any case, I would say, that no matter what reasons you had for not throwing out my bra, you're in no place to mock my inability to throw out your sock. So ... I'm keeping it.

I know you always dreamed of visiting Britain and Ireland. It was always next up on your docket, but work, love, and money always precluded you. But with me in town (ie a free place to stay, and a friend to hang with) there is no way you would have missed your opportunity. Knowing you, you would have bought your ticket for some ridiculous month like February, "Because it's cheap, and anyway London can't be any colder than Chicago," you would tell me. And you would have arrived, and it would have been insanely cold, but we would have trudged around regardless, through the tourist sites of London. And perhaps we would have taken a little weekend jaunt to Dublin, so you could see your "homeland," and it would have been windy, and awful, but you wouldn't care. You would drag me around town with waaaaaay too much energy, and we would have gotten drunk on Guiness and forgotten how cold it was anyway.

And so now I have a mad idea that I will take your sock along with me, in your stead. That I will take a weekend jaunt to Dublin, and that I will wear your sock, so that when my feet touch the ground in Ireland, it will be as if you are there, standing on the ground of your mother country.

What do you say?

I know, I know, you think I'm crazy. You are shaking your head at me with all the wisdom that you receive in your agnostic after-life.

It's a sock. A stupid, meaningless, nothing.

And yet, sometimes the expensive somethings can be discarded without care, while the most meaningless, stupid nothings are imbued with meaning. So please forgive my hopeless sentimentality.

But I miss you. I love you.

And I'm keeping the sock.

Ruchi

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

What do you have against Canada in February?

Thank you for your post. I was going to ask you to take a friend with you when you go on your sock pilgrimage to Ireland, so that you can drink guiness with someone and talk about memories and keep them alive and new, but that seemed presumptuous- it could be all wrong. It might be better as a quiet walk in mismatched socks. Either way, do what feels right, and don't feel weird about saving the sock.

*hug*

kt

p.s. if you are taking the train for any part of your journey, look into getting a young person's rail card. Under 26s and full time students of any age are eligible. There will be a bit of paper work you need your school to sign and they cost 24£, they tend to pay for themselves quickly.
http://www.16-25railcard.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

p.p.s. if I commented about railcards and oyster cards before, please forgive the overlap. I can't remember at the moment.

kt

Mad Hatter said...

This got me all teary-eyed. You should totally keep the sock. And who's to say Kim won't get a good laugh in her agnostic after-life at the sight of you taking her sock to Dublin?

lauren said...

My stepfather passed away on Friday after a brief illness. Even though he had an on again/off again battle with leukemia, it still came as a shock to all of his family and friends.

Looking around my mom's house, I thought to myself: how will she bear to get rid of anything he owned?

I, too, would like a sock.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that this is a beautiful post. I didn't know your friend but somehow i feel she would smile at this. These little things that we do, the things that we keep are the way we stay connected to our past and to those who have touched us. I hope that sock is always a part of your life.

Sherri said...

there are no words for me to express how incredibly moving and touching that post was to me.

Robj98168 said...

Wow. You are the first blogger to get me to cry.vvxnteqd

Burbanmom said...

Wow. The first post ever that made me cry. You are a very good friend, Ruchi. I hope you and the sock have many good travels.

JAM said...

You made me cry too. It is a beautiful post and you are a fantastic friend and writer.

pink dogwood said...

I just came to work and was expecting some funny post from you, but here you got me crying and now people around me will wonder. I love the love that you have for your friend. Keep the sock forever.

Bobbi said...

This post got to me, sorry. I lost my baby sister 3 years ago, so I know the pain you're going through. I have my sister's necklace and I have only had it off my neck one time in the past 3 years.

Chile said...

That was absolutely beautiful, Ruchi. Very touching. May you and her one lone sock have lovely adventures together overseas.

jennconspiracy said...

dammit, now you made me feel guilty about getting rid of my stepdad's favorite blue plaid shirt-jacket because it was too big for me and I didn't have a place to store it.

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I think this is an awesome way to remember a much-loved and missed friend. Treasure that sock!

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

p.s. your word verification thingy is saying eenuff. Seriously!

eco 'burban mom said...

Snif. Wipe. Snif. Amazing post. Really, just amazing. It's true, the things you hang on to that seem silly that mean the most. I have my father's hairbrush. He died of cancer when I was 7. He was only 31. I have moved it from house to house to dorm room to apartment to my current home. Memories come in many forms!!

Natalie said...

That was a beautiful post. Your friend sounds like she had a wonderful spirit. I'm sure you feel lucky to have known her, and to carry her with you still. She was lucky, too, to have such a good friend in you.

Okay, I have to go finish crying now...

Abbie said...

I'm so sorry about your friend, as I wasn't reading your blog back when it happened. I've lost loved ones suddenly and way too young, and I know how much it just sucks. I've cried a few tears for your friend today. Yesterday, I tried to comfort a baby deer that was hit by a car (I think) as it died on my lawn. My eyes were already puffy from that, so this post makes them even a little bigger :(
On the brigher side, these momentos are so meaningful when you use them to do something to remember your friend. I still think of my great-grandmother every time I see her biscuit cutter, and even more so when I use it. I know it will be a tough time for you to have adventures in her sock, but eventually it will be so totally comforting and a great way to remember her.

kale for sale said...

I needed my heart touched today. Thank you.

ScienceMama said...

Love you, ru.

Jen S. said...

This is a beautiful, beautiful post.

Stephanie said...

I think that's a great way to remember your friend.

Pip Wheaton said...

Arduous, that is the silliest, most heart-wrenching post. I'm sitting in the Sydney State Library with tears running down my cheeks and I'm sure that the librarian is now questioning how much longer she's going to let the blubbering girl stay, but to hell with that.

You just put it so well. And I get it. I took my father's key-ring (a post-humous 21st present that he arranged for me to have 3 months after he died) all around europe because even though it was unlikely that I would have keys for much of that time, it was the closest I could get to symbolically have him with me.

Your friend may well be shaking her head at you from her agnostic afterlife but she'd also be glowing (if glowing is possible). I hope that everyone is lucky enough to have love like you do for your friends.

xx

Student Doctor Green said...

dude you had me chuckling at the beginning, tears in the middle, and touched at the end.

Charles said...

thank you, thank you, thank you. it's the little personal things that we share in our lives that matter. you were clearly close to your friend, and it's not a sock but a tribute to the dreams that we should always remember that all we have is today, so treasure it. recent events in my life remind me to not waste our lives on the petty, but this post reminds me that not all that is small is petty. godspeed in your journey and pack the sock well.

Donna said...

I love this post. Everyone should have a friend as good as you.

Beany said...

I don't have anything new to add...except that you are quite honestly the nicest friend one could have.

okham said...

Ruchi,

hey, you know that book from which I translated the piece about money and happiness ? Believe it or not, there is another piece in there, about this very subject. Much like for the previous post, you are echoing many of the same ideas, using very similar expressions (to the extent that English and Italian can ever be compared). I am not sure whether I can translate that one because it's mostly written in neapolitan dialect.

In that piece, a man recounts the experience of his father's passing, being unable to feel any emotion at the sight of the corpse and to cry during the funeral, but finally moved to tears when going a few days later to his late father's house to collect his belonging, walking into his personal library and looking at those objects... the pipe, his favorite book, his pen... there is a way for things to become almost live, to acquire part of the soul of the persons... scary, almost.

Bobbi said...

Wow, girl...I'm sorta new to your blog. Did y'all feel the continent shift a little? That was all of us being moved. I also have a friend who died young. We were supposed to have lunch the day the OJ verdict was going to be announced and he was afraid there'd be a riot or something. So we didn't meet. We both got caught up in life and family and we never actually met again. Don't put it off, folks. Friends are important.

Jennifer said...

What a fantastic tribute to your friend. My gramps died two days ago, so my family is in mourning, and your post touched me! Regards, JenK

ruchi aka arduous said...

Thank you all for your positive responses to this post. It was one of those things, where honestly, I was a little nervous about posting. I thought you guys might think I was a freak for posting about a sock. So thank you, thank you, thank you. You guys are the best!

Gina said...

OMG....bawling over here in Texas....hoping the kids don't notice so I won't have to explain that a friend of a blogger died...and they're really sad.....and it feels as though my own heart is breaking....even though I don't know them....

How completely *sweet* that she kept your bra. I wish we could ALL hop on a plane and visit you in February. I swear....we'd be one sad, crying, drunk group of gals in Dublin!!

Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Liz said...

Oh! this made me cry! In a good way.

Joyce said...

Oh,man, I'm bawling my eyes out.

Anonymous said...

My little sister died a month and a half ago from luekemia,at 23.For me there is a little bag of brewers yeast that she bought in bulk to make dinner for our family,she picked it out,put it in the bag,twisted the tie and then died before she could use it. Knowing that she had every intention of using it is so hard for me,I can see why you are keeping the sock.

Melissa said...

you got a tear out of me too...I hope you got some comfort from writing this piece; it's beautiful.

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