This is a simple, short story that started as an assignment in a creative writing class and has been a work in progress. I edit and change it often but the story always says the same thing: be unique. What is life if we try to be exactly like everyone else? Stand out, be brave, and embrace you because you are the most beautiful person. Stay sparkly!
All of his ties were folded neatly in the top drawer of his dresser. On the right side the solid colored ties were arranged in an organized, horizontal pattern. The patterned ties were kept on the left side of the drawer in the same horizontal pattern. The man had sixteen ties in the drawer all together and each day he took out a different tie to wear to work. He had a system in place so he could wear each of his ties once without repeating them. He would wear a solid colored tie, then a patterned tie. The next day he would wear a colored tie, followed by another colored tie. On Friday he would wear a patterned tie and the next Monday he would wear a colored tie. He had worn his ties this way for over twenty years without adding any new ties or getting rid of any old ones. The ties knew when it was their turn to be taken out of the drawer and spend an entire day displayed around the man’s neck. They looked forward to their day by imagining themselves hanging smooth and proper against the man’s crisp dress shirt. They liked to discuss their importance and brag about being “the man’s favorite”. “His mother bought me for him,” one bragged and another chimed in “I was bought for his job interview!” The ties loved the man and always stayed in the best condition so not to disappoint the man.
One tie was consistently forgotten and never got the chance for his day outside of the drawer. He had been given to the man fifteen years ago as a joke at an office holiday party. The tie had been sitting in a drawer for many years after being given to someone who never wore him, and then regifted to the man with all the fancy ties. The tie thought this was his chance at freedom! The tie thought he would be worn by a nice man who appreciated his value. But the man never wore the tie because he was not like the other ties. He was bright orange with misshaped green dots all over. The tie felt embarrassed and he could not change his colors no matter how hard he tried. The man never took him out of the drawer and the other ties never acknowledged him. They told him he was not a real tie and no one would ever wear him. He didn’t understand why he had been made with these awful colors if no one wanted him. He dreamed all day, every day, about the day that he would get to be worn by the man with the fancy ties but he was starting to believe it would never happen.
The man’s nephew, Jimmy, came to spend a few days with his uncle. Jimmy was so excited- he idolized his uncle and loved watching him put on his fancy suit and ties. The man thought Jimmy might enjoy picking out the tie so he uncharacteristically broke his routine that morning. Jimmy admired each tie as if it was made of gold. “I can pick any tie, uncle?” The man nodded and Jimmy’s smile spread across his face. Jimmy ran his hand along all the ties, evaluating each of them carefully. The orange tie didn’t even bother getting excited. “Jimmy will never choose me,” the tie thought. But, then the tie felt five little fingers wrap around him! “I like this one,” Jimmy exclaimed! The man’s face contorted and he a quickly took the orange tie and placed it back in the drawer.
“That tie is not appropriate for businessmen, Jimmy.” Jimmy was shocked- he thought it was the most fun tie in his uncle’s drawer. It was the same color as his favorite dump trunk.
“Have you ever worn that tie?”
“No. I told you- it isn’t proper to wear to the office. Now choose a more appropriate tie.”
“I want the orange tie. I like it.”
“I am not wearing that tie, Jimmy. I work in a very big office where everyone wears normal ties and if I came in with that tie everyone would stare at me.” Jimmy didn’t understand why grownups were always trying to look like each other. He liked being different and he decided if his uncle wouldn’t wear the orange tie, then he would.
When Jimmy’s mother came to pick him up she was met by a unique sight. Jimmy was dressed in his jeans, blue dinosaur t-shirt, racecar sneakers, and the unwanted orange and green tie. “Mommy! Look what I have!” The man shrugged his shoulders and Jimmy’s mother stared at the strange looking tie.
“Why are you wearing this, honey?” Jimmy saw the same look on his mother’s face that he had seen on his uncle’s face.
“Because I like it, mommy.” Jimmy smiled down at his tie and walked towards the car shaking his head. “Silly grownups.”