ONE GRAY SOCK ( THAT SINGLE GRAY SOCK)
It had been three days he had come to his father’s house, where his father had lived alone in the last years of his life, after the death of his second wife. During those three days he had gone wandering from room to room, all busy, frantically, in opening closets, drawers, trunks, and in rummaging among what were inside them, without even knowing why he did it. He was acting as if he was looking for something specific, while he was not looking for anything. Unless you want to say that he was looking for some survival of his father there, into the rooms where he had lived, in the objects which had belonged to him, objects his father had touched, had watched, had worn. Then he had found that sock, a single sock. It was lying along its entire length at the bottom of a closet compartment, under a pile of towels. The sock looked like new. It had certainly never been washed, perhaps it had even never been worn. It was gray, thin. On the inner edge of that single gray sock there was a little white label . Into the little rectangular label a name stood out red : NICK , which was, precisely, his name. Nick remained with that sock in his hands, looking at it and looking at it again for a long time. He held that unexpected, surprising sock long stretched out, holding with two fingers of one hand “the foot” , and with two fingers of the other hand holding the top edge of the sock. He flipped the gray sock, tapped it. The sock was soft and rather stretchy. Nick came back, several times, to look again at the little white label on which his name stood out red. But WHY was his name on that single brand-new sock, never worn? Why was that sock hidden at the bottom of the closet? Who had put it there? It had to have been his father. Why had his father kept a mismatched and never worn sock ? The answer to this last question came spontaneously to him, even if , at the same time, it sounded ( was) absurd and mocking . But it was clear ( evident) why his father had kept that mismatched sock ( that sock without its partner): on that sock there was his son’s name : NICK! And who knows, perhaps his father had intended to give that sock right to him, Nick thought. Yes, it had to be like that: his father had kept that mismatched sock to give it to him. Perhaps with that sock his father wanted to tell him something, so Nick thought. And then, soon after, he wandered : but what would his father have wanted to tell him giving him that sock? Turning that single sock in his hands, Nick thought back to his childhood. He had never known his mother. They all had always told him , when he was a child, that her mother had died when he was born. Nick was twenty years old when he had known ( learned) that his mother had not died___it had been aunt Rita who had informed him___but instead she had left when he was a baby, when he was too young to remember her. Then Nick had started looking for his mother, he had also set out to investigate, albeit as far as he had been able to do so. Once he had also been sure that he had found his mother…But oh, what a disappointment, as he had felt himself falling into the void when that woman had told him he was wrong, that she was not his mother at all.
But what could that single ( mismatched) sock have to do with his mother? Nick kept wondering, clutching the gray sock in his hands. “ Mom…mom…it was you who put this sock here, on the bottom of the closet?” He asked, crying. Oh, but what nonsense was he thinking? How could his mother, who had come away when he was a baby, had put that adult sock, yes, with his name, there in the closet? Ah, his mother might have come back later to take the gray sock there, he said himself.
In the following days, when he had returned to his house, where he lived with his partner, Alex, Nick started asking around if there was an underwear brand called NICK. No one had ever heard of a brand with that name. Someone, jokingly, asked him if he was planning to start an underwear company. Even looking on the internet he didn’t find what he was looking for. He did find a NICK brand, but it was a brand of leather goods: it produced bags, belts, and even shoes. Eh, it could be that if that company produced shoes, it also produced socks, he said himself. Nick managed to get in touch with that company, called Nick, and asked if in the past their articles had also included socks. The answer, somewhat surprised, was negative: no, their company had always produced only leather articles.
Where had that sock, with his name …come from? He kept wondering. “ But forget it…throw away that sock and don’t think about it anymore “ Alex said him. Indeed his partner seemed annoyed ( bothered) by what had become a real obsession for Nick: to find out where that single sock had come from. “ But how can I not think about it!? There is my name on this sock!” Nick started shouting, when Alex invited him to let it go, to forget it. That sock, or rather Nick’s obsession with that sock, had become the cause of frequent quarrels and anger between him and Alex. There had been heated fights between them, in which not only bad words and insults had run, but they had also come to blows. The situation between them was so tense that Alex had repeatedly threatened to leave ( to go away).
One night Nick came back home and saw Alex lying on the couch, as he was sleeping. But when Nick called him, Alex did not answer, did not move. Nick went close to him, touched him and had to realize that Alex was dead. Alex had the gray sock tightened around his neck, the very sock that had become Nick’s obsession. And it was with that sock that Alex had been strangled.
Nick was charged with the crime. On the gray sock with which Alex had been strangled a lot of Nick’s fingerprints were found, as well as on Alex’s body. Nick protested his innocence, but in vain. He was arrested and sent to trial. One night , in prison, he dreamed of a woman he had never seen but as soon as Nick saw her, he felt, he knew that she was his mother. That woman, who was his mother, was holding a sock like that he had found in the closet at his father’s house. That woman , laughing a terrible laugh, waved the gray sock on Nick’s face and she said, gritting her teeth : “ Yes, it was I who killed your friend! Ah! Ah! Ah! It was me! But they’ll blame you! For all the guilty will be you!”