I am a perpetual loser of socks. Once a year I go through my sock drawer, only to find at least a dozen socks with no match. Short socks. Tall socks. White socks. Striped socks. I am an equal-opportunity sock loser.
Except, there’s one pair that I’ve never lost the match to. They’re my miracle socks, always folded together in a neat little ball in the back of my sock drawer. Those socks have survived six moves over a span of 10 years. I first pulled them on in my dorm room in college. I wore them in Nashville, trying to keep my feet warm in an impossibly damp basement apartment. I tugged at them as they bunched around my ankles while I sat reading at the only coffeeshop in Hannibal, Missouri. And just this morning, I pulled them out of my drawer, planning to wear them under my boots as I ventured out in the chilly Colorado morning.
I sat on the edge of my bed, at marveled at these socks that I have kept together for a decade. And then, unexpectedly, I found myself crying. For while this pair of socks has remained intact, they are a reminder that things in life don’t always stay together.
My friend had just returned from a semester abroad, and she handed me my souvenir–a pair of knee-socks with the British flag emblazoned on them. They quickly became my favorite socks. And every time I wore them, I thought of my friend. We lost touch for years, but I still wore those socks, still smiled at the memories of my friend. Eventually, our paths crossed again. I was thrilled to have rediscovered our friendship.
It is far easier, though, to keep a pair of socks together than a friendship. People change. Priorities shift. Hurtful words are spoken. Decisions are made. And while I have made peace with the loss of this friendship, I still mourn it. Still find myself wondering what I could have done differently, while knowing deep down that sometimes walking away from a friendship is the healthiest possible choice.
So there I sat on the edge of my bed, my face buried in a pair of socks.Eventually, I folded them back up and carefully placed them in the back corner of my drawer. Maybe I would wear them another day.