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But not the kind of inventor you’re thinking of, surrounded by blueprints, head full of levers and pulleys. This inventor in my sock drawer is the kind that I imagine gets seated next to that inventor at dinner parties.

In the morning, I say, “do I really not have any matching socks?”

He says, “a croissant that cures poison ivy. Is that something?”

I say, “I don’t have time for this. I’m late for work.”

He says, “you’re right; keep it simple. Reusable lobster?”

I close the drawer, and hear a muffed voice say “remote-controlled fountain pen.”

I think he is a hack, full of dumb ideas and no follow through. I tell him this at night when I open the drawer for no reason other than to harass to him.

He scratches his head. “Solar-powered nose hair trimmer?”

“Do you ever actually make anything? Anything real?”

He says, “we’re in discussions with investors. Prototypes are pending.”

I say, “what, you’ve got Shark Tank in there now?”

He says, “with another round of funding, we could be in stores by third quarter next year.”

I laugh, but he ignores me.

“Strawberry-flavored scuba suit,” he whispers.

One day, I open the drawer, and I find that the inventor is gone. I peer into the drawer and see the walls of the drawer are covered with tiny designs for a flying suit made entirely from my orphaned socks. It has six cupholders, a cigarette lighter, and XM radio. The design is intricate and ingenious. I’m not even angry that he used my socks.

I still wonder sometimes whether it was all real. Whether next year, there will be flying suits outfitted like luxury sedans for sale in Bed Bath and Beyond. Whether my tiny inventor will be on the news showing off new designs, collecting prizes, and telling the world how he used to have a roommate that didn’t believe in him, but how that just fueled his passion. Whether I’ll still be sitting on my couch wearing mismatched socks and no pants and eating dry cereal from a cracked bowl and lobbing insults at my empty dresser.