He finds an old, used gym sock pressed into the back of his locker from the beginning of the year and his friends say “eeew” or feign nausea from what should be a putrid, caustic smell after such a long time in a cramped space and somehow isn’t. Not long after, there is a squeak from the girl across the hall that turns into a grunt from one of the guys and then body after body begins to shake in laughter, not because it’s quite that funny that there’s a musty old sock now laying on the floor mid hall, but because they’re all part of this experience and because they are losing something – each other. Laughter seems to creep in when there’s no more to say about how sad it is to leave and to see you go and congratulations on the next thing. They are seniors in their last week of school at P.S. 555 cleaning out the remnants of left behinds that had insidiously crept in and made it more and more difficult to shove their books inside.
A girl finds a love note she wrote to a boy and never handed over and wonders whether she should just do it now because there’s nothing to lose. She doesn’t though, because what if she sees him this summer around town and it’s awkward. She wants to enjoy any last glimpses she has of him before college without the intrusion of truth.
Oh but wait… none of this is happening now, to me at least, even though it feels like it. We were packing up boxes and putting things away today in my department as we are the first to go during the layoffs. There were no locker doors, but I could hear them. There were no dirty socks, but I could smell them. Well… perhaps those were my actual gym socks that are sitting underneath my desk. Anyhow, it almost felt bittersweet as I gathered up all of the trinkets I have received from my coworkers throughout the last three years. I moved all of the little toys and pictures to a single space on my desk and stared at them wondering what box I am going to store them in for years to come. When I will open it up to look and how I will feel.
It’s common for me to wonder how I will feel in the future now. I never used to care but now I catch myself preparing for the sadness that comes from fond memories. It’s safe to say that sometimes I don’t enjoy fond memories because I begin to project the sadness that will come. It is likely I will keep the box sealed until I have forgotten the names of everyone I worked with, which means forever.
I haven’t cried yet, but I know I will. The laughter has already begun because of the discomfort that comes with removing security. Like seniors, we are moving on and leaving each other unsure where we will be going next. I may not miss the job, but I will miss the people. I will miss the raucous laughter from the lunch room disrupting my concentration. I will miss the hugs, the conversation, and the bathroom peeping – haha.
I am ready to move on even though I will be sad when it’s gone, but before I leave I look forward to uncovering anymore dirty socks.