As my bare feet trembled against the morning, the cold, hard ground around me littered with arrangements of cloth, button, and string, I pressed onwards. A sense of dread came over me as I ran my hand against the smooth deep crimson of the walls around me. Approaching the ornate wooden box, I tensed my muscles and steeled my psyche in preparation to face the obscured horror that lie in wait before me. As I pulled back on the cold brass of the handle, no amount of emotional preparation could have prepared me for the flood of despair that washed over me and began to drown me in a sea of perturbation. I only had one sock left. Not a pair, a single sock, with no twin, identical or fraternal, to be my saving grace.
While this may seem trivial, perceived as a cruel twist of fate by only the weakest of wills, one must stop to consider the circumstances that led me to this eldritch juncture. How did I, a decent human being and diligent student, end up with one of something that can only be found in pairs? What kind of person could have the gall and ineptitude to break a bond forged through hours of stitching and packaging, corrupting a natural connection in what seemed like seconds. Truly, the ultimate failure that lay before me became the greatest obstacle to both my sanity and my complete outfit. The multitude of answerless existential crises derived from this one moment of true desperation began to warp my perception and cloud my thoughts. Is anything truly meant to be together to begin with, are we all meant to be with something else, or are we destined to be found alone, solitary in a wooden tomb? Did I manage to wear 3 socks one day and just never notice. Questions like this seemed infinite and all-consuming.
In the eternal seconds following my cruel realization every facet of the abyss that surrounded me felt hostile. As if my transgression had disrupted some sacred symmetry, broken some ancient covenant between the very fibers that bound my clothing together. Every shirt, every pair of pants, every loose cufflink seemed to resonate. “You are not complete.” And I had no reason not to believe them. I weakly arose and shambled out of the chamber, every step taxing on what little willpower my meaningless existence could muster. I felt worthless, as if the Atlas I once saw myself as had loosened his grip and let the world fall.
As I stare down at my dresser, more than a week after my previous incident, I reflect on the unadulterated hubris that had once more brought me to this terrible intersection. I had studied the mistakes of the past and recreated them to a near perfect degree. Near-fully consumed by the lone bane of my existence, a beacon of light flared up from my person. The once obscured vibrant red of my shirt flowing seamlessly into the muted grey of my jeans. It was a genuinely nice outfit, one I had neglected to notice due to the soul crushing presence of what now seems like a mundane scrap of cloth. My quest for textile perfection had blinded me to the woven glory I had already achieved, overshadowing the greatness found in what already adorned my person. The shame that I had once felt was overtaken by a feeling of great enlightenment, a knowledge that I may never achieve what I once thought was my birthright, and a realization that it was fine if I never did. Walking out of the closet, dirty socks in hand, I felt a comfort as if the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.