This is the story of Mr and Mrs Sock, who were made for each other. He was left-handed and she was right-handed so they had this yin and yang thing going on. In the beginning they were inseparable, in fact they were attached: a piece of nylon held them together plus a plastic strip with their sizing on it, which was the same, and they were happy that way. They didn't want to do their own thing, they didn't want to hang out with other socks, they only wanted each other.
One day they were bought and taken home and the thin piece of nylon that held them together got broken and the plastic strip ripped off but still they stayed together as a pair, somehow. Even though they went in the wash separately and got thrown about in the lather, nevertheless they found each other at the end of every day. And they were happiest then, wrapped in a tight ball - she inside him, he inside her - all cosied up in the drawer.
Then the inevitable happened: they lost each other. He looked for her in the washing machine - surely she was in there with him? They went in together, didn't they? He looked for her in the dryer, tumbling around in the heat. There were lots of socks in there for sure, but where was his sock? Where had Mrs Sock gone? He looked for her in the clean pile where he lay upside down with a pair of kid's Y-fronts stuck to his sole.
Each time he saw another sock that looked a little bit like his sock his heart skipped a beat. It was her! They were back in step, reunited! But no, it wasn't his sock. On closer inspection it was a sock that looked very much like his sock but it was just that little bit wrong: too big, too small, too completely a different pattern with a massive tear in the toe.
I'm afraid to say this story doesn't end well because Mr and Mrs Sock never did find each other again, even though they lived in the same house. He often wondered if he'd put his foot in it somehow, but the truth was they just drifted apart. They were worn on different feet, on different days, by different family members. Sometimes he thought he saw her under the table, stuck on the foot of another, but the glimpse was always fleeting and then she was gone, forever. Neither of them could put their finger on how it happened. It was a total mystery.*
Much Ado About Something.
This is a true story that does have a happy ending and was told to me some time ago. Apologies if you've heard it already because I do love telling it. A friend of mine's husband left her because he said he fell in love with someone else (that's not the bit I love, by the way). They had two small children and she was blindsided. Broken. Devastated. Crushed. All the usual adjectives. She cried all the time and wouldn't leave the house. After a few weeks another friend stepped in and said she needed to snap out of it and dragged her off to the theatre - I don't know what play it was, she never told me that part - she did tell me there was a guy in this play, an actor, she couldn't take her eyes off. She just sat there in the audience thinking: I have to be with that man. She wrote him a note and left it at the stage door, suggesting they meet. And they did. Somehow or other he didn't think she was a complete lunatic and he met her for coffee one afternoon and they hit if off and started dating and now they're married and have two more children and live just down the road from us.
The person this happened to told me the story herself at playgroup many years ago. Truth really is stranger than fiction, I thought, because if you wrote that in a novel it would sound implausible.
"We only had one hiccup very early on when he moved in with us," she told me, "and it was about his socks."
"His socks?" I said.
"Yes," she said. "He put his socks in with the family wash and then he went crazy because he couldn't find them again."
"Ah," I said, "they were lost in the system!"
"Yes," she said. "I told him he would probably never see his socks again and that it was a small price to pay for love and he seemed to accept it," she said. Then she added, "actually, ever since then he's done his own washing."
Love E x
P.S. * Not a mystery at all apparently, here's the equation - (L(p x f) + C(t x s)) - (P x A).