I opened my sock drawer and you won’t believe what I found.
I thought it was just a black sock, unmated and forgotten, shoved deep into the ragged corner of the old beat up oak dresser drawer. Reaching to remove the misfit unwanted sock, cold seeped into my fingertips. Did I break one of those chemical ice packs, left over from my broken wrist days of PT and painful recovery exercises? Reaching deeper, shoving, flexing, annoyed now that this was a ‘thing’, taking up time for a stupid chore that should have been completed months ago. It’s 90 degrees out-way past sock season anyway.
My aggravated fingers gripped the cold offending blackness and pulled…hard. Something pulled back. Hard. “Stuck on some old candy or gum. Stupid sock.” I grumbled. I gripped tighter and yanked again. Suddenly, a vicious tug that pulled my arm in, all the way up to my elbow, disappearing into the impossibly flat inky circle of black. My arm…somehow lost in my everyday mundane drawer that held, was supposed to hold, passive inanimate footwear.
Teeth chattering, cold inking it’s way up my arm, my shoulder, toward my heart. “I can’t see my arm,” I thought stupidly. Brain panicking, thoughts skittering like bare tree branches thrashing in the cold grip of winter’s chill, I fell weakly to my knees. “Not real, not real, not real,” I whispered sobbing.
I braced my legs against the frame, grasped the drawer’s rough edges and pulled like a desperate mule stuck in deep mud in a fast filling gully. The drawer pulled back, unrelenting and swallowed another inch of arm. And that was when I saw it, embossed by my right shoulder. Tiny. Gold. Faint. A gypsy-like flowered scroll painted unfurling against the tired grain of the oak. Ghosted images hinted at an ancient forest with sylphlike figures dancing between the trunks. Squinting to make out the curving script, I softly read aloud: “Protect them, for they are kin, and I will give thee back thy limb.”
“I promise, I promise,” I sobbed, meaning it with every fiber of my flesh and bone. Like a spring thaw the ancient wood breathed my arm back to me, warm and alive as a young green shoot reaching for the warming sun. Shakily, I stood, rubbing the spot where the scroll had appeared. Except it didn’t. It wasn’t. Gone, like it had never existed.
I’m older now, bent like the stunted gnarled apple tree but still yielding some fruit. My orchard flows over my land. The fruit not for me but for the creatures who populate my land. My forest of native trees defy human patterns, dropping seedlings that dance around their parents in merry defiance and joy. I kept the old dresser. Routinely checking its drawer, with no more control over my actions than a salmon returning to its birthing river, drawn by a force I cannot control nor explain, and never, not once, seeing a beautiful gilded scroll inside.