by Brecht De Poortere
I used to find those little socks of yours all over the house.
Like Hans in the forest, you left a trail—from the front door, through the kitchen, into the living room and up the stairs—a glass slipper as you rushed up to your bed.
It was a treasure hunt.
I found your sparkly socks, the frilly ones, those you liked the most: the Snow Queen ones from Santa Claus. Under the table, behind the desk…
You even left one in the fridge.
Some were torn where tiny toes had poked their heads. Most were barely worn; they came off as soon as they were on.
Although a few (the lucky ones) escaped in pairs, the greater part were separated and scattered around the place.
Many never saw their twin again.
Why, I asked so many times, did you refuse to keep them on? In summer, I could understand but, in winter, with those freezing tiles?
Perhaps it was the fabric or the seams—they ‘tingled’, you once said, your sensitive princess feet.
So I bought seamless socks, and only cotton—a fortune it all cost—alas, to no avail…
They were too itchy or too hot—there was no pleasing Goldisocks.
One time I heard a scream and found you on the floor: crying, fighting with those socks—you couldn’t get them off! I dashed to the rescue and freed you from that snare—your knight in shining armor—
—that’s who I wish I was…
I admit, sometimes it drove me mad. It was the Hydra that I fought: for every sock I tidied up, two more materialized.
And we were late for school, so many times. Put on those socks!—No, not those socks! I swear, I nearly…
Then, one day, in the car, I was pressed for time. I warned you not to, but you did—pulled off those socks and threw them hard. I bent and reached to pick them up. My eyes came off the road…
And now I find no more little socks.
Anywhere in the house.
Brecht De Poortere was born in Belgium and grew up in Africa. He currently tidies socks for his three children in Paris, France. Brecht took up writing during the pandemic, and his stories have found a way into Consequence Magazine, Reflex Press, Ellipsis Zine, and other lovely places. You can follow him on Twitter @brecht_dp.