Charlie’s Room: The Gloves

On his way to his car after work, Isaac noticed a muddy navy blue mitten in the gutter and sighed.   He’d left his gloves on the bus last week. Marianne needed the car, so she’d dropped him off at work and he’d taken the bus partway and walked the rest of the way home. He’d noticed the lack of warm toasty gloves immediately, of course. But the bus was already gone.

So, he called the central office for the bus service when he got home, and they’d told him to call back the next day.   Unfortunately, they hadn’t found his gloves. Winter was nearly over, so he decided to put his hands in his pockets and buy new gloves in the fall. His hands were cold, even in his pockets.   He missed his gloves.

He looked up, and realized that he was outside the creepy antique store. He’d promised himself he’d never go inside the store again. If he went in, he’d buy something, and it would end up being something strange somehow. However, there was a pair of gloves inside the front window.

They weren’t just any gloves, either. They looked hand-knitted from black and white wool.   They looked like they were just his size. His grandmother used to knit mittens just like that. Isaac took a deep breath and went inside the store.

He walked through the maze of aisles to the front window, and took the gloves out of the display. Oddly enough, they had no price tag. He looked them over closely. They looked brand new. There were no holes or stains.

He slipped the left glove on. It was the perfect size, and it was warm, even though he’d just put it on. That seemed a little strange, but it had been a while since he’d worn gloves knit from real wool.

Isaac took them to the register. The man behind the counter lifted an eyebrow and set his pencil down on top of the half-finished crossword puzzle. “No returns,” the man said.

Isaac looked over at the wall. The sign about the thirty-day return policy was still there.   He decided to ignore it and held out the gloves. “These don’t have a price tag. How much do they cost?”

The man lifted on corner of his mouth in a sinister smirk. “Oh, I’ll give you those for free if you buy this letter opener.” The man reached under the counter and pulled out a tiny butcher knife.   It looked sharp, and had some dark stains along the edge. The room suddenly seemed colder.

“I just want the gloves,” Isaac said. “How much are they?”

The man sighed and put the knife away, and then smirked again. “I could throw them in with something else,” he said.

Isaac waved his free hand before the man could reach under the counter again. “No, no.   Just the gloves, please.”

The man dropped his smirk and scowled. “Fine.” He named a price.

It was a little expensive, but Isaac paid it and hurried out with the gloves.   “Thank you,” he called over his shoulder.

“No returns,” the man called back as the door closed.

Isaac laughed in relief. He’d survived the trip to the antique store and wasn’t going home with anything strange.   He pulled on the warm, cozy gloves and hurried to his car. He couldn’t wait to show them to Marianne and Charlie and tell them about his grandmother and the mittens she used to knit.

A week later, Isaac took the bus again when Marianne needed the car.   Unfortunately, once again, he remembered that he’d left his gloves behind just as the bus drove away. He’d have to call about them when he got home. He frowned and shoved his hands in his pockets. The gloves were there, folded together in his left pocket.

How strange. He remembered leaving them on the bus seat. Well, it wouldn’t be the first time he’d acted on autopilot while thinking.   He usually put one in each pocket, but he obviously hadn’t been paying attention to what he was doing. He pulled the gloves on and smiled. Warm and cozy.

Two days later, he set them on his desk at work while putting his coat on, and only remembered them when he stepped out into the cold. Some people were going out behind him, so he stepped out of the way and put his hands in his pockets. His gloves were folded together in his left pocket.

Well, that was handy. When he got home, he purposely left them in the car. He closed the door while looking in the window. The gloves were still there. He put his hand in his left pocket. No gloves. He walked towards the front door. No gloves.   He went inside. Still no gloves.

He took his hand out of the pocket and then put it back in. There were the gloves, folded together. Isaac smiled. He would have warm hands for the rest of the winter.