“I can’t remember the last time I saw you.”
The sock shifted slightly on its chair. Or, more accurately, upon the books that had been placed on the chair for him to be able to sit at eye level with the woman who sat across from him.
She didn’t look like he had imagined. Admittedly he had never imagined her, it had always been she who had imagined him.
“It’s been a few years since we first met,” he said, holding out a small worn green hand that was no more than a bunching together of fabric on the upper part of the sock. Unable to reach her, the small slit that might have been where toes would sit but instead served as a mouth, turned downwards. He often found a frown upon his features but this one at least had reason.
The woman pushed her head into her hands, dragging broken fingernails through unwashed hair. “I’m sorry it’s not under better circumstances.”
“It’s perhaps better than where I was left off,” the sock replied, his mouth now creeping upwards with his attempt to lighten the mood.
He saw the woman’s head nudge backwards and heard a small noise that may have began in her chest as a laugh but left as nothing more than a weak cough.
“I was eighteen when I found you,” she said, her head lifting to look back at him. “Maybe nineteen. I remember wanting to be the doctor you spoke to, what was his name? It doesn’t matter. Funny how things turn out.”
The sock steepled his hands, but, with nothing to lean on, it gave the impression he was praying. He became aware of this as the woman did, and soon took them apart. “Years have passed, and you fret that you forget so easily now, that nothing remains, but you remember me. My name, anyway. What about my story?”
“Sokwurf,” the woman said, a glimmer of light over her eyes where her smile failed. “I don’t think I ever knew your story. Do you know mine?”
The desk between them was cluttered, books stacked upon them that the woman didn’t own. She wondered, her eyes scanning over them, if they were the same as the ones she had imagined in a story long forgotten, if even the desk was the same. It seemed plainer than it had been before, flickering in and out of view like a television searching for signal.
So, now the sock was the doctor and she the sock. A smile caught on her mouth like a hook, pulling it slightly to the side, tight and thin. She watched as the sock spun slightly on the chair, involuntarily she was sure.
“You can tell me your past, as long as you allow me to convince you of a future,” Sokwurf said after a small pause, his hands held out, palms turned up. “I once was led to believe I had gone mad, but my madness was in others indifference and inexperience, through an adventure I was not quite ready for.”
“Sorry about that,” the woman responded, with a small shrug and tilt of the head. “I did intend to finish the story.”
The sock looked back at her in a way she didn’t understand it possible for a sock to look. Of course, the sock was talking and moving and under normal circumstances perhaps that should have been surprising enough. But, she had created him, and so instead, she watched his existence as separate to hers with curiosity.
“That’s okay,” Sokwurf replied, a hand pushed up against his chin. “Consider this payback. Only this time, we get to the end of the story.”