Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 23, 2024

Finding meaning in some little blue gloves

By DIVA PAREKH | March 5, 2020

COURTESY OF DIVA PAREKH AND SAM FARRAR During a tough time, Parekh finds importance in some of the small things.

About 15 years ago, in December 2005, my dad first came to America. I had just turned eight, and it was the first time in my life that one of my parents had been gone for an extended period of time like that. He was going there to start the process of becoming a U.S. permanent resident, which is the only reason I even can apply to be a citizen today.

Anyway, my eight-year-old self didn’t really care about that. She just missed her dad and wanted to know what he would bring back for her. When he got back, it was a big pile of assorted things that he found when he discovered the magical world of American outlet malls. One of those things was this pair of fuzzy blue winter gloves.

The glove size said eight to nine years, which explains why my dad bought them for me, but I’ve always had very tiny hands, so they were way too big. And anyway, what would I even need winter gloves for living in Mumbai? So into the closet they went. 

Fast forward to summer 2015, when I was packing up for college. My mom found the gloves and had me try them on. And of course as a 17 year old, the eight-year-old gloves fit me perfectly (Fit like a glove? Two gloves? I’ll stop).

So I brought them to Hopkins, all set to brave my first real winter with my fuzzy blue gloves. They always meant a lot to me. I just never really stopped to think about why.

Then two weeks ago, I took them to a baseball game and realized halfway through that one of the gloves was missing. I searched literally everywhere I could think of — under the seats, outside the field, in both the bags I was carrying, even on the street and I couldn’t find them. I came home hoping that I’d just left it in my closet, but it wasn’t there either.

Losing things has always upset me. For my weird OCD brain, losing things feels like I’m missing a piece of a puzzle. Like I’m one piece away from completing the entire thing and being able to see the finished picture but I have no idea where that one piece went and no matter how hard I try I can’t ignore that it’s missing. 

But with these gloves, it was more than that. It was the first piece I had of the country that would eventually become my home. It was about knowing that my dad was thinking of me even 8000 miles away. It was what my mom tucked away in the closet knowing I’d need them someday when I left the nest. 

It wasn’t something I was crying about — not yet at least — but I was just kind of sad. You lose things. It’s a part of life. I couldn’t get it back, but I was determined to never take the one glove left out of my closet because I didn’t want to lose that one too.

I went about my life. I did my homework. I went to a baseball game the next day. And then on my way back home, just lying there on the pavement perfectly untouched, was the other blue glove. 

Not only was it ridiculous that it had spent a full 24 hours out on the street by itself and was somehow clean (don’t worry, I still put it in with my laundry), but it was also crazy that I had actually looked for the glove at that exact spot on the street on my way home the day before.

But there it was. And there I was, literally holding a glove I picked up from the street and happy-crying on my way home (If you’re the security guard who saw all of this happen, then I hope you don’t think that I’m as crazy as I seemed?).

You’re probably wondering why I wrote an entire article about a single glove. Honestly, I don’t really know. 

I’m at a point in my bizarre medical trajectory where I have chronic pain and headaches all the time. I sometimes cry in the middle of class purely from the pain. I constantly feel like I’m being a bad friend to people who mean so much to me because the pain just makes me want to lie on my couch and not do anything. 

I offer to help people with their homework and then can’t because all I can do is sleep for 10 hours. I make the “sorry, I had a bad pain day” excuse so many times that I start to feel like a fraud, until the pain shoots through my body and reminds me that it’s real.

But I found the glove. Things work out sometimes. And for now, that’s what I’m going to hold on to.

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