Socks by Nathan Hepler

     Sometimes when its raining, when the clouds have sunk down real low, almost pressing down on me and the low rumble of thunder gently rolls into my ears, I wonder…what if it was all gone in a flash? What if I was ignorant of all that had ever happened? I can’t help but think, is any of it worth guarding? Maybe I should let it all drip away, wash down the street and seep into the countless crevasses never to be found again. I could really use all that muddy water gone. I think I’m beginning to suffocate.

     But still I find my mind wandering back, grasping at memories I thought I had long forgotten, twisting and contorting them into something they aren’t and trying to make sense of it all. It was doomed from the start but still I tried to make it last, fought for it every step of the way and convinced myself it was worth my time. Like that pair of old socks in the top drawer, the ones whose fabric is literally disintegrating between your toes, yet you still keep. You tell yourself that laziness is the only reason they are still tucked carefully in the back of the drawer, but really you’re too afraid to throw them out. What if you still need them one day? But they’re useless now, not even wearable.

     There are too many pairs of those socks stuffed in the back of my top dresser drawer, a few beat up more than others. Some I’ve managed to toss in the trashcan over the years, but it’s getting harder and harder as time flies ever so quickly by. The older I get, the tighter I hold on and the more excuses I find myself making. The more that slips through my grasp, the harder I struggle to keep what I already have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from a hoarder, but I’ve accumulated my fair share of waste.

     The first step to fixing your problem is to admit that you have one, or something like that, but I don’t see myself changing anytime soon; I don’t see myself throwing away any more socks in the near future. They keep me grounded and remind me who it is that I am. Those holey socks are almost all I really have, well besides everything else I have too. Plus, I don’t own many socks and new ones are expensive. I realize that’s just an excuse. I’d really love some new socks.

     I guess what it boils down to is that very few things in life are constant. Life is short, life is tough, life is what you make it, life is blah blah blah. But what keeps us going? The never-ending quest for something better? What if I miss my one chance, my one shot, my one whatever it takes to be happy? I’ve changed my mind too many times to even know what that means anymore. If history repeats itself, well then tomorrow will likely be different from today.

     Kurt Vonnegut wrote, “Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can’t see from the center.” The clouds are too low, too thick, just too damn overpowering for me to see anything from here right now. I think I know where I’m going, but there’s a difference between where I’m headed and where I want to be. Not all of us have the luxury of maturity. I like to think that I’m a relatively sensible person, I was raised well and taught proper values, but sometimes I secretly find myself hoping I fail. At least then I’ll have an excuse to do the unreasonable.

About the Author:
Nathan Hepler lives in Myerstown, Pennsylvania.