I have heaps of them, coloured, printed, in linen, cotton or silk. They are all in a drawer, perfectly ironed in four equal parts, looking like an accordion. In the morning I choose one, I open it, I crumple it holding it in my hand and then I put it in my breast pocket. I like that it sticks out a tiny bit, I sometimes leave the corners and part of its design protrude from my breast pocket. I also like that a crumpled strip of handkerchief sticks out a bit of the trouser pocket.

When I was little, my father used his to blow my nose. His were huge and white, with white embroidered initials. Their creases left by the iron made perfect geometric designs, of which I still remember their texture, weight and fragrance.

Maybe it is for this reason that I love handkerchiefs. It is a sentimental, forgotten accessory, meant to dry your forehead, tears, hands and, for those like me who wear glasses, to clean the lenses. You can offer it to whoever needs it, knowing that it will be returned washed, ironed and folded in four equal parts.