The culminating frustration of the last few months met half way up and half way down the staircase last evening in an emotional hand-clasp that made the pictures on the wall shudder in relief.
Rightie has come home.
Forced into a hand-to-hand existence amongst Minneapolis’ homeless, she was found in a snow bank outside the bus stop just two stops from home.
Rightie and Stinky: the best of gloves, the worst of glove stories. Kept apart by the complex bus-riding patterns of the homeless and an unrelenting cold front, the two gloves have reunited.
There, on the stairs near the living room, they face each other for the first time in months.
Rightie’s fingers hang dejectedly. “I – I – Stinky, you don’t know what I’ve been through.”
Stinky shakes slightly from side to side, raises his index finger. “It doesn’t matter. We did what we had to do.”
Rightie blushes, her palm hot with shame. “You don’t know.”
“I don’t need to know. Nothing will ever change the love I have for you.”
The ends of Rightie’s fingertips assume an air of hope. “Then we still have time? To be together?”
Stinky pauses, runs his thumb up the inside of Rightie’s palm. Again, he shakes slightly from side to side. “It’s too late, my love. She has new gloves now. Word on the staircase is that we’re to be washed, pressed flat, placed in a reasonably airtight container, and stored in the basement until next October.”
“A good, long nap.” Rightie smiles ruefully and sighs. “I’ve missed you so.”
Suddenly, there is the sound of a door opening; and with that, the gloves fall, limply, to the floor.
On the heel of the sound of footsteps, the woman sweeps into the stairway, laundry basket bouncing off a hip. She grabs both gloves and the circular scarf Mary has given her, and they join the load of towels destined for the washer.
And safe within the tumbled world of the laundry basket, Rightie and Stinky’s fingers intertwine.