As I peel the black, sweat-ridden socks from my calloused soles, I hold one, loosely, in each hand: pinch at the tops where the feet go in. To keep my hands clean.
Kind of. My palms: down-ward facing and concaved, halo my pinching fingers.
The stench rises within the caverns of air between and is absorbed by each folded palm; beads of stinky sweat form in the creases of the skin. In a burst of energy, but running on empty, I gallop up the stairs with little composure; though some scent of a warped bodily grace still marks my scattershot movements. In a hurry- to grab my slippers- to cushion my aching feet.
As I escalate further up the staircase, the short stockings dangle either side of me; like sloths from trees. They sort of sway back and forth as clean, lightweight socks would, but crusted areas at the toes end slow down their movement.
In the flurry of my building momentum, as I reach the top of the stairs, one sock flings from my hand; flies up in the air and back down again in a flash. In what feels like a millisecond, I stretch my opposite arm across my body and catch the cotton-footed, carcass-smelling garment with my hand as it falls, in a majestic moment of acrobatic mastery; all done with no detriment to the speed at which I run. The level of attentiveness, coordination, and balance I display surprises me; I am so tired. I take great pride in my physical feat.
As I close in on the final step leading to the home stretch that is my landing hallway – where my comfy slippers lie waiting for me – I shout aloud: “VICTORY!” The word leaps from my mouth and springs in my step, and the tiny ounce of smugness in my voice is detected and drawn out in front of me. I trip over it. Finish line just in sight. Both socks fly out of my hands, as my body and new-found dreams of athleticism tumble together towards the floor.
Crashing with a loud thud, I have landed on the stairs carpet. A face: lightly bruised; pressed upon, instantly moulded into, the most foul-smelling sock; from its rotting fibres, pongy juices ooze out, and are absorbed by my losing cheek. They trickle down past my teeth; sizzle upon my taste-buds and I scream!