Friday, January 7, 2011

Its a Mystery

For a very long time now I have had a question.

Do you see single shoes on the side of the road? And where oh where, is the other one? How did that shoe get there? and is someone coming back for it?

The first one, the one that has haunted me. Was a child's shoe. It was a blue Buster Brown boot, about a size 13 or 1. It was brand new with brown laces. It was laying on the side of the road. Standing upright, its eyes faced towards oncoming traffic, sentinel like. It seemed almost military in its bearing and it had a patient air about it.
We passed it going 75 and it was gone in a blink.
Why just one? I spent the rest of the trip looking for its mate. Thinking about all of the different scenarios that could end up with that forlorn little boot dying alone and forgotten as millions of unthinking eyes passed.
I have noticed them ever since. The shoes. Always one. always alone.
Shoes are one of those things that except in very rare circumstances, mate for life. So to see a single shoe is always cause for alarm.
Why is it alone? Is it lost? Can you help it find its way?
I have poured over countless ads in hundreds of papers just looking for the words, the clarion call of hope "Lost! Left Shoe, fell from my foot and has vanished.URGENT!! REWARD"
Never. Not once has there ever been a word. Not even for this, the strangest of all missing shoe cases. 50 miles into the wilderness, on foot, with backpacks and food carried on our backs we came upon a strange site. A brand new Clark's loafer. Dead center in the trail. A dress sock neatly rolled up and tucked inside. Its leather was still supple and the tread was crisp. There were no foot prints in the dust leading to or from the shoe. No one was around but my brother and I. We touched it not, but camped that night nearby. I must admit that I checked on it twice that night so great was the mystery. No one returned for the shoe. It was hard, but we left it there the next day. Carried on.
Our return trip took us down the same trail 5 days later. I looked anxiously for the shoe, hoping that it would be gone. Perhaps a set of footprints, one print shod the other not, coming upon the shoe. The joyous tale told in the trail dust. capering and celebrating of a shoeless foot and a shooed foot, the pause, the plop of a backside into the dirt while the shoe was returned to its foot. Prints of two shoes leading off into a happy sunset.
No. It was not to be. The shoe lay exactly as we had found it. The sock was gone, carried off no doubt by some villain of the night. the shoe maintained its vigil, waiting, longing for its foot to return.
If it had been my size I would have worn it home. Alas it was a size small.
For all I know, it rests their still. Eyelets poised, tread tight, leather alert for the telltale stomp, stamp, stomp, stamp of its returning foot....

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