The first thing I noticed about my future husband was his mismatched socks. When he asked me to marry him, I decided that anyone who can wear odd socks is either zany or disorganised or doesn’t really care. I figured disorganisation wouldn’t be a problem, and the thought of a zany life appealed to me. ‘It’ll give me something to bring out my creative side,’ I said to Sheena. She’s my best friend, bridesmaid and trusted co-worker.
In the early days I often watched with a smile as he disappeared off to work with a brown and a blue sock. It started to annoy me after a while, though, but he just replied that it was too much bother to fight the inevitable. ‘They always get separated,’ he said. ‘I think they go to the same place as pens. Somewhere there’s a massive pile of socks and pens.’
It got me to the point where I was becoming irritated, and one day at work during a break I spoke with Sheena. ‘How come all his golf clubs must match but he doesn’t care about his socks?’
She laughed. ‘Men are an odd bunch,’ she said. ‘I knew a bloke who had to have the tv sound on an even number or he couldn’t watch anything.’
‘The thing is,’ I said, ‘it’s becoming a duel. Perhaps I should wear mismatched earrings and see what he says.’
‘You could,’ she said, ‘but would he notice?’ She had him pretty well summed up, it seemed.
‘Or you could buy him some new socks.’ This was Sheena’s attempt at being helpful.
In the end I took her advice. In fact, I bought him new socks for every birthday and Christmas and it became a sort of standing joke. It never worked though, he seemed to become more and more resistant to change what had become his personal statement.
‘Okay,’ I said. ‘I guess I’ll just have to deal with it.’ And so I did my best to ignore the worsening situation, which even witnessed stripes and spots together. I suspected he was trying to wind me up. Sheena told me not to worry. That’s Sheena, always trying to help. Sometimes too much.
I won’t forget that day. I left work early because Sheena was off sick. I planned to go round to hers after changing out of my work stuff to check that she was feeling okay. She hadn’t answered the texts I’d been sending all day. When I got home, the door was bolted so I let myself in the back way. I went into the living room and the first thing I noticed about my future ex-husband was that his trousers were halfway down his legs and that he had Sheena underneath him. The second thing I noticed was his matching socks.
Henry Bladon is a writer of short fiction and poetry based in Somerset in the UK. He has degrees in psychology and mental health policy and a PhD in literature and creative writing. His work can be seen in Potato Soup Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, AdHoc Fiction, thedrabble, Tuck Magazine and Spillwords Press, among other places. Henry also runs writing support groups for people with mental health issues.