The Story of the Unpaired Sock by Eduardo González Constán (translated from Spanish)
Read the original story here: Historia de un calcetín desparejado
It never entered the old sock’s little woolen head, that when he came out of the washing machine his life would be changed forever. Until that moment days passed quietly and uneventfully with his partner, the worn out shoes with which he had forged a great friendship after their long walks together, and the periodic washing, drying and ironing sessions. The one thing he didn’t like was the spin cycle, it gave him a horrible headache, and even more so if they had selected a washing program with hot water: so much spinning and so much heat shrunk his wool skeleton. But time does not stand still, even for our sock.
However, from the moment the door of the washing machine was opened, that became the least of his worries.
“You are alone? I don’t see your partner..” a pair of jeans asked while they waited in the basin for their turn on the clothesline.
“It must be under those faded boxer shorts,” replied the sock.
“Underneath me there is only a kitchen towel,” answered the underwear.
And so it was that an expression of concern clouded the face of the sock for the first time since it was purchased at a mall one afternoon during the sales.
Every garment knew the old legend of companions disappearing in the drum of a washer, and that all that spinning could dissolve the essence of all types of clothes until they were swallowed up as if into a black hole.
Worry gave way to panic when – now hanging by his heel on the clothesline – he looked at the ground dripping water and sweat, he could see that his partner had disappeared from the face of the earth.
“I don’t want to discourage you, but a mismatched sock has no future,” said a stiff, cocky shirt that also hung from the rope.
“Worse than that…” added a pale bra that was believed to be safe from everything, “… as soon as they realize that you are not a pair, they will throw you away. Because who is going to want to pair with a maroon sock like you? The business ones will look down at you from above the ankle, and the sports ones will laugh at your 100% cotton composition.”
The rest of the hanging garments looked at the ground and nodded, some with sadness and others with relief at the possibility of getting rid of an “unpaired one”.
This is how the next day, once dry, our sock was taken to a totally uncertain destination. The trousers, panties, briefs, and shirts gave him one last look, and there was even a size 4 T-shirt that shed an innocent tear at his departure.
The weeks went by, and little by little that unpleasant episode was erased from the memory of the garments. Then came the day when once again they were all huddled on the dining room table waiting for that unpleasant session called ironing. The jeans protested against the woman’s determination to remove wrinkles, which for them represented their life experiences. Pants and shirts were complaining too when from the top of a shelf someone called out to them:
“Psss! Guys! Don’t you recognize me?”
Before them sat a puppet with a perfectly painted cardboard face, woolen hair, a bow tie on the neck and buttons on the lapel.
“You really don’t know me? It’s me, the old sock that they took a long time ago. They did not throw me away, on the contrary, using cardboard, buttons, wool, glue and a lot of imagination, they transformed me into what I am now: a puppet that is the delight of children.”
The rest of the clothes were stunned into silence. “A simple puppet?” asked an business sock with disdain. “Well, it doesn’t look like you have won.”
“Quite the opposite..” our sock replied, “..I have gained a new life. I have seen new horizons. Before I smelled feet, now I smell the air freshener in the living room, before I only heard the tireless clicking of shoes, now I hear the laughter of children, before I let myself go, now I dream of what stories to tell.”
“So our destiny is not what we think it is?” asked a brightly colored tie.
“Of course not! Do not be so foolish as to insist on following a path that perhaps is not the one meant for you. Use the wings you have and let yourself be carried away, and just as I imagine my stories, imagine yours,” replied the sock.
The emotional speech of the old sock became etched in the memory of the pile of clothes, and after a long silence the brightly colored tie dared to speak: “What if this is true?” This question remained floating in the air, and little by little it became part of the wool, cotton or lycra that made up the garments.
I do not know if that was the cause, but the fact is that from that moment extraordinary things began to happen in the closet of the house. It became possible for the threadbare tie to transform into a cup for storing colored pencils, or for a blue tank top to become a nice shopping bag, and even for that yellow plaid shirt to be used to cover a huge storybook. The same storybook that night after night our brand new puppet opened to tell a story, while three girls and a boy with eyes shining like suns and very little desire to sleep listened to attentively and excitedly.
Click here for the original story in Spanish: Historia de un calcetín desparejado
Eduardo González Constán:
“I consider myself an incredibly curious person, eager to learn and continue learning. This story is the result of one of those moments of curiosity about writing. Before this, there were others, and then later other moments appeared: baking bread, learning to draw, making beer. … But the good thing about stories and tales is that they last, bread and beer don’t.”
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