The Pink Sock

from the archives

One time I seduced a woman by dancing for her. She was a painter. We met at a party and I took her up to my friend’s room. She sat on the couch and I put on some music and danced. She was smiling.

Do you like my sexy body? I said.

Yeah, she said.

Do you like the way I move? I said.

Yeah, she said.

Do you like when I shake my body like this?

Yeah, she said.

“Do you like when I shake my body like this?”

Do you think my ass is sexy? I said. Here, let me give you a better view.

Oh yeah, she said. Definitely.

It is, isn’t it? I said. It really is.

Have you ever seen another man move the way I do? I said.

No, I haven’t, she said.

I didn’t think so, I said.

She left a pink sock at my apartment. It was a nice sock. Cotton, thick, looked very comfortable. I don’t know how she forgot it. She didn’t leave in a rush. We had slept in, got up in a leisurely manner, and gone to brunch.

I texted her a couple days later. We arranged to meet up for a drink. She cancelled. No problem, I said. I kept the pink sock. It was on my bookshelf. It was the only thing on my bookshelf apart from a book titled the Wisdom of the Desert. I had gotten rid of all my other books. I was becoming a minimalist. I wanted to own less than one hundred things.

I texted her again. Drink? Pink sock exchange? Silence.

“ I kept the pink sock. It was on my bookshelf. It was the only thing on my bookshelf apart from a book titled the Wisdom of the Desert.”

Your pink sock is lonely, I wrote a few days later. It misses you.

More silence. It was cool. I got it.

I wasn’t surprised. She had told me she had just broken up with her boyfriend of five years. They had lived together in Red Hook. They had adopted a dog together. He was a painter as well and they worked in the same studio. His parents’ house in Iowa had burned down the week before. They’d lost everything. He had gone there to help. She was worried about him. She’d answered a call from him as we walked to brunch. That shit is not over, I thought.

But the pink sock. The poor pink sock. The pink sock hadn’t done anything wrong. It wasn’t the pink sock’s fault it had been abandoned. The pink sock was a neglected orphan, like a baby left at a police station or church.

I texted her: If you don’t want to meet up that’s cool but seriously do you want your pink sock back? I can mail it?

No response.

“Your pink sock is alone and depressed, I wrote.”

Your pink sock is alone and depressed, I wrote again. I can tell. It’s separated from everything it’s ever known. It really wants to come back to you. The pink sock needs you. It needs a family. Who will wear me now? the pink sock says. Who? My sister sock is gone. We’re separated. We’re both alone now. I was so happy with you, the pink sock says. So happy. How can you treat me this way? After all I’ve done for you. All those times I kept your foot warm. All those times I kept it cozy.

Still no response.

Okay, I wrote a week later. Okay. This is just getting crazy. Do you fucking want your pink sock back or not? This is serious. It is on my shelf, just sitting there, so goddamn lonely. Don’t you understand? Lonely!! I don’t even want to see you. I’ll mail it to you. Just provide an address. I’ll pay the postage. I don’t care. This pink sock deserves a better life. It deserves to be with you. I’ve done all I can for the pink sock. I even put one of my argyle socks next to it for company, but I have to wear my argyles sometimes. I only have so many socks. Here is a picture of your pink sock. Look how unhappy it is. Look how lonely it is. Look how the edges are fraying; how the color is fading. This is not due to use but because of a broken sock heart. Take me back, the pink sock says. Please take me back. I want to be with you. Look how sad it is. Look. Just please look.