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.
6 months ago