White and blue. Black and purple. Pink and gray. My socks never matched. The washing machine seemed to eat, swallow, and digest my socks each week, leaving me with less and less. Each foot was split between two different colors, two different brands, two different homes, each one slightly showing over the edge of my shoe. White and blue. Black and purple. Pink and gray.
“Your socks,” my camp counselor said, pointing to the two different colors on my feet. My face flushed with embarrassment that someone actually noticed. But he never laughed.
“That’s pretty cool. I think I’ll wear them mismatched too.” And for the rest of the week he wore one black and one white Nike sock. The socks that went to his shins, showing them off to the other campers. And soon other kids began to wear mismatched socks too. White and blue. Black and purple. Pink and gray. Yeah, I guess they are pretty cool.
My mom, sister, and I would stand in front of my mom’s vanity mirror and play a silly game.
It usually starts like this:
Put your hand up to mine. Let’s compare the length of our fingers
Let’s see whose hair is straightest.
Reach your arms up to compare wingspans.
How big are your ears?
How tall is your nose bridge?
Who has the longest nail beds?
Whose legs are the longest?
Whose eyebrows are more arched?
Each round the competing feature got more peculiar, more exciting and fun. It was a game I never seemed to win; I didn’t mind though. Now I clamp my wavy hair between the jaws of the flat iron each night without fail. It makes me feel prettier. But I think that is just a coincidence.
Image courtesy of Pixabay by Peggychouchair
It’s been with me since I took my first breath in the hospital room. When I learned how to crawl… backwards, then walk with wobbly knees. Engulfing my shoulders and dragging on the floor as I watched Blues Clues on the floor of my living room in kindergarten. Consoling me after a heated argument with my sister over who got the last Capri Sun. Hugging me as I silently cried on the floor of my friend’s bedroom during my first sleepover. Waiting for me after every tireless game of red rover on the playground. The final touch to all of my epic blanket forts. Caressing my sun kissed face on the futon in my aunt’s house when we visited Waimea. Held in my arms through the awkward phase of middle school where I had an intense side part in my hair. And supporting me through my late night study sessions in high school. My baby blanket. Or copia as I called it. Maybe it’s the way its soft pink color faded to a dingy beige. Maybe it’s the white thread fraying where my grandma sewed it. Or the orange thread unraveling where my dad sewed it … or tried really hard to anyway. Maybe it’s the comforting smell of lavender laundry detergent and shampoo. Or the fact that it has molded to my head to make the comfiest pillow, one that never overheats. Or maybe it’s the memories. But I still reach for it each night before I fall asleep. And I don’t know if I’ll ever stop.
Image courtesy of Pexels by Mo Eid
The Wheel Keeps Turning
As a kid I had improbable amounts of luck. At the family reunions, my name would always be called as a raffle winner. I would be the first to call BINGO when we played on game night. At carnivals, I would somehow get the rarest prize on the first try. Even arcade games would be in my favor; One time a claw machine grabbed 5 stuffed animals in one go. It got to the point where my grandpa would go into the gas station and rub the lottery tickets on the top of my head. To my relatives that’s what I was known for. They always praised me for my good luck, giving me the idea that the world was in my favor. A blanket of security in times of uncertainty. But one day, that all stopped. No matter how hard I crossed my fingers, that luck never seemed to return. Of course the teacher would call on me the one day I didn’t do my homework. Of course my shoelace comes undone right as my foot takes its next step. Of course they’re sold out when I finally reach the front of the line. And looking back on it now, those were just normal coincidences. But the praise from my family always had me asking: Why me?
It was my sister’s graduation. We were all there: Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa, sitting on the metal bleachers like matches in the box, shoulder to shoulder. More people continued to flow in, squishing us further into our seats, the sun beating down on our face. It had been half an hour of student volunteers and security guards directing everyone and a flurry of Can I sit here? [s] and footsteps. The grads walked out single file to their seats on the football field. We all straightened up, searching for my sister, trying to look for the tall shoes she wore or the cap she decorated. It had been an hour. The ceremony started with the principal giving a speech although the speakers were too far away to hear a word. Then the national anthem. Then the valedictorian speech. Then the A names. The speaker called each name quickly, each kid quickly grabbing their diploma and shaking hands. It had been an hour and a half. I was half paying attention, only waiting for my sister’s name to be called. We had all decided to cheer because silence would be more awkward than our screams.
“Madison Stewart.” My grandma screamed so loud, whooing and clapping. Wrong person. My whole family burst into laughter, the people around us turning their heads and glaring. I was so embarrassed I slouched in my seat, as if I would turn invisible and pretended to look at my phone as if that would make it seem like I didn’t know them. Suddenly, my family erupted in cheers and whipped out their phones to take pictures. I looked up from hiding behind my phone but by that time, it was too late. She had already walked off the stage.
Image courtesy of Pixabay