Reconciling Socks


I washed the sheets with the darks today.  They were my son’s sheets—stark white flannel, with little raised footballs you can trace with your fingertip.  I imagine my son, the many nights he has trouble falling asleep, rubbing his finger back and forth, back and forth, along a football, imagining himself the winning quarterback of Super Bowl LIV—or maybe a star receiver, catching the ball and running into the end zone. 
We were running behind this morning.  I stayed up late last night reading a novel, telling myself, just one more chapter, as I turned the pages well past midnight.  I stuffed the sheets into the washing machine as my son got his Spiderman backpack ready for preschool, tucking a picture of his letter of the day—S for shutters—neatly in the side pocket, making sure he had his asthma inhalers and the picture he’d drawn for a friend.
The washing machine was only half full.  I looked at the laundry basket, overflowing with darks: inside out jeans, balled up socks, wet towels.  I could save a load if I combined them.  I shrugged, jammed them in and slammed the door shut, before they could escape. 

* * *
The school parking lot is a symphony of little beeps as parents press the lock buttons on their key chains in unison, protecting ourselves from one another, directed by an invisible conductor named Fear. 
We speak to those we know, ignore those we don’t and secretly size up one another from the corners of our eyes.  Do they know? I wonder.  Do they know that I washed the darks with the sheets?
We wait in line to take our children to Room 9, eyes straight ahead, or cast to the ground, perhaps focused intently on today’s art project displayed on the bulletin board outside the classroom.  We lovingly bid our children goodbye, unlock our cars with the push of a button, start up the engines in unison.  And then we drive away.
At home, I close my garage door, watching it slowly shut out the sky, the trees, the house across the street, the wet surface of the road.  It shuts with finality, wood against concrete.  I unlock the door and return to my laundry basket.  I spend the morning trying to reconcile socks—divorced by a pair of pants, a sweatshirt, yes, even a football pillow case has come between them.
I return to school.  I lock the car door, join the other women already standing in line, arms tucked around purse straps, elbows in to avoid jostling one another.  Through a bank of windows, we watch our children at play.  Jack dashes over to hug Marissa.  Julie kisses Peter.  Mothers look at one another and tentatively smile.  I long for a needle, to pop the little bubble of protection we’ve built around ourselves.
But the children are called in and the moment is gone.  I pick up my son, drive home and make lunch. 

Note: This was written several years ago, just after a job transfer.

Just Write

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Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Reconciling Socks

Friday, January 6, 2012

Reconciling Socks


I washed the sheets with the darks today.  They were my son’s sheets—stark white flannel, with little raised footballs you can trace with your fingertip.  I imagine my son, the many nights he has trouble falling asleep, rubbing his finger back and forth, back and forth, along a football, imagining himself the winning quarterback of Super Bowl LIV—or maybe a star receiver, catching the ball and running into the end zone. 
We were running behind this morning.  I stayed up late last night reading a novel, telling myself, just one more chapter, as I turned the pages well past midnight.  I stuffed the sheets into the washing machine as my son got his Spiderman backpack ready for preschool, tucking a picture of his letter of the day—S for shutters—neatly in the side pocket, making sure he had his asthma inhalers and the picture he’d drawn for a friend.
The washing machine was only half full.  I looked at the laundry basket, overflowing with darks: inside out jeans, balled up socks, wet towels.  I could save a load if I combined them.  I shrugged, jammed them in and slammed the door shut, before they could escape. 

* * *
The school parking lot is a symphony of little beeps as parents press the lock buttons on their key chains in unison, protecting ourselves from one another, directed by an invisible conductor named Fear. 
We speak to those we know, ignore those we don’t and secretly size up one another from the corners of our eyes.  Do they know? I wonder.  Do they know that I washed the darks with the sheets?
We wait in line to take our children to Room 9, eyes straight ahead, or cast to the ground, perhaps focused intently on today’s art project displayed on the bulletin board outside the classroom.  We lovingly bid our children goodbye, unlock our cars with the push of a button, start up the engines in unison.  And then we drive away.
At home, I close my garage door, watching it slowly shut out the sky, the trees, the house across the street, the wet surface of the road.  It shuts with finality, wood against concrete.  I unlock the door and return to my laundry basket.  I spend the morning trying to reconcile socks—divorced by a pair of pants, a sweatshirt, yes, even a football pillow case has come between them.
I return to school.  I lock the car door, join the other women already standing in line, arms tucked around purse straps, elbows in to avoid jostling one another.  Through a bank of windows, we watch our children at play.  Jack dashes over to hug Marissa.  Julie kisses Peter.  Mothers look at one another and tentatively smile.  I long for a needle, to pop the little bubble of protection we’ve built around ourselves.
But the children are called in and the moment is gone.  I pick up my son, drive home and make lunch. 

Note: This was written several years ago, just after a job transfer.

Just Write

Labels:

9 Comments:

At January 7, 2012 at 4:20 AM , Anonymous Elizabeth Young said...

I learn more about the art of good writing from your posts Bella than all the tutorials, teachings, e-books, workshops and books on writing put together! Don't every stop or I'm done for!

 
At January 7, 2012 at 8:24 AM , Anonymous idiosyncratic eye said...

Wow, this really has 'something'. I'm not sure what it is and I'm not brilliant at expressing myself but I really love it. :)

 
At January 7, 2012 at 9:15 AM , Anonymous Ms. G said...

'reconciling socks' I like that. This is beautifully written. I also just threw a new red shirt in with my husbands jeans. Live Dangerously !

 
At January 8, 2012 at 2:03 PM , Anonymous Bella said...

Kelly, need I tell you I sighed after reading this post? What the hell am I saying? I sigh after reading all of your posts! Woman, if you held a writing workshop, I'd sign up! Pronto! And now I can't get the visual of those football flannel sheets tumbling around in the washer with the dark colored clothes out of my head! :)

 
At January 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Oh, you made my night, Bella. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. This was kind of a blue piece...

 
At January 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Definitely! Thanks for reading!

 
At January 8, 2012 at 5:19 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

 
At January 8, 2012 at 5:19 PM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Elizabeth.

 
At January 11, 2012 at 9:49 AM , Anonymous CJ said...

I could easily envision every little detail you have written! Amazing!

 

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