When Fabric Softener Was a Luxury

When the weather turned cold it always made it feel worse. The scratching and prickling against my skin would nag me from roll call to recess. Simple things like walking to the monkey bars gave me discomfort. In a time before the phase Restless Legs Syndrome would be the butt of sophomoric jokes on poorly written sitcoms. All I new was my legs were in constant motion and enveloped with abrasive texture. My youth rendered my powerless to stop this torture. I can’t help it. I can only endure.

There are more important things that take precedence in life’s triage, but that notion does not alleviate the roughness. Is my discomfort shared with this playground? Do they move with tentative foot falls and stiff postures.

With frayed pant legs a poor fitting shirts, I drudge through the alley like a corpse. My pace slowed by the rigor mortis, I pass a wave or two to my curious neighbors, but I don’t feel like satisfying their wonderment on their face by explaining my gait. 

The softness has always appealed to me but not too often experienced. I lay down my bag in the kitchen and changed my clothes. I breathed deep and rest on my bed in an old worn shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt. My head clears the static of the waves of the day. I think of gentler days and years to come as I think in the present of the abrasive years past, when fabric softener was a luxury. 

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