I’d had fifteen winters to dispose of your socks, but somehow time had slide silently sideways, and they had remained in place. Black with brown, and blue with cream were the only anomalies, you’d been a stickler for uniformity. Yellow was your favourite all time colour. Every Christmas a new pair of Mustard Sunshine crew socks would make an appearance and you’d act surprised and genuinely pleased.
Arty said I should’ve given your things to the homeless, and filled your socks with compost and planted seedlings. Admittedly it would’ve made for a colourful display, but I couldn’t do it, it was important to me to leave everything as it you’re your socks helped to fill the space you see.
At night when fear choked at me I’d peer beneath the bed. In between the dust and the empty suitcases, there they were, all neatly flyped just as you’d left them.
The red ones you’d worn on the first day of your new job; the job that had consumed every last part of you until only your shell had remained. The light blue cashmere pair you’d worn on the day we’d received your diagnosis – too much sun and your Celtic skin had not been a good combination. The single blue sock paired with the floppy cream one always brought me a smile. Your face had been a picture of confusion as we’d left our holiday laundromat with a randomly gifted pair of mismatched mid-calf socks! That had been when we’d first noticed the change in a patch your skin.
Over the years, on our anniversary I’d added to the beneath bed collection. I’d brought new offerings and assigned future unlived memories to them. I’d painstakingly catalogued the remnants of our life together and interspersed the newbies year on year, it was bittersweet watching the collection grow. They sat displayed in glorious technicolour beneath our bed. The essence of us was never far away from me as I slept, and I was grateful for that.Only your Mustard Sunshine socks would continue to remain drawer-bound. They had carried your frame away from me, I didn’t need to be reminded of that.