Prose, Grades 7-9: First Place

Sweater — Sararosa Davies

Sweater sits in washer with socks all around. Sweater has plenty of holes in his tacky, blue, green and white winter pattern. He talks to the socks and they lean in. He appears to be telling a story that he has already started.

Every day she would sit with her knitting needles listening to the mindless drone of 80s television, and knit. Whether it was Dr. Who on BBC America or the news, I was there in her arms, becoming myself. Piece of yarn after yarn, skein after skein, I slowly developed. Some days she would sit for hours working on me, stitching my endless winter pattern until there was nothing but static on the screen. Some days she would only work for a measly five minutes, so she could go dancing with her partner. Those days were painful for me; I hated not being held. I was jealous of her partner. I was angry I was missing Dr. Who. The thing I really hated though was the true physical pain of having an incomplete string just jutting out of my body! Oh, so painful. Like touching a hot stove, the pain stung. And those knitting needles, boy would they talk! When my owner was gone, all I ever wanted was some quiet. I needed some time to cry and you know, mope. You’ve all lost a partner. (motions to socks) Still, those damn needles. They’d talk about how in love they were with each other. They’d also bash Doctor Who! (groans) Oh, and the nerve they had, to kiss! They would sit there in front of me, all over each other, whispering between breaths. I mean, come on! I just lost my woman to another man! Of course, owner didn’t know I loved her but still! Be nice to those in pain!

Eventually, owner did finish me. In the end, I felt great about myself. I was so young then, but now I am old. I had five beautiful matte gray buttons colored like elephant skin, and now I only have one. I had smooth, full, sleeve ends. When owner rubbed them, I got such a great feeling! Now, they are chewed up. It was so long ago, I can’t remember if those teeth were a cat’s or a dog’s. I’m pretty sure it was a cat because owner’s partner had a very obese tabby named Tabby. How creative! Anyway, the day I lost my oh so cherished sleeves was the day owners gave me away. All I can remember is a dark box, some furry man’s hands, and the Tabby’s teeth. And voices! I can hear voices! Yes, it’s all coming back to me. I remember some whispers. It was owner’s voice and a man’s voice. They intertwined in a harmony that owner and I never had. The man’s voice was gruff. He said something along the lines of, ”Oh, what a great birthday present” or just “thanks.” It didn’t matter. I could tell he wasn’t pleased. He didn’t like the gift. I wanted so badly to tell owner. She deserved to know, but I couldn’t. It’s the law. You know, article 19 of the Clothing and Owner Infatuation act, “A piece of clothing shall not disturb the relationship of its owner and another human.” I had to let go, you see. If he lied to her about me, he truly loved her. I loved her so much that all I wanted was for her to be happy, and you want to know where that got me? In this washing machine, with you dirty socks.

He sighs and the washing machine starts.