I have these pair of shoes. They are an off brand pair of white keds. I’m not even sure where I bought them. Maybe a Target or a store in the mall, but I purchased them a week before I left for Europe. They were a perfect white. The kind of pure color that immediately makes you want to find a puddle to splash in. Or at least that is how I felt.
My possessions had to fit in a backpack. A black backpack. 25 inches tall, 13 inches wide and 13 inches deep. A bag with four packing cubes, and minimal space for shoes. Which was specially disappointing for a girl who loves shoes as much as I do. One pair of white keds, and one pair of black gladiator sandals. That was it.
I wore my keds almost every day for sixty-one days. They have seen cobblestone streets, and marched through green fields. I’ve worn them in eight different countries, and countless more cities. I’ve had them on my feet in airports, on ferries, and on the dance floor. By week 8 they looked like hell, and they developed a small scent from being exposed to repeated bouts of rain. I can’t seem to let go of them though.
They’re just a pair of shoes. I figured that when I got home I could finally put them to rest in the trash, but here they sit in my closest. Every few days I pull them out and put them on to walk my dog. There is a hole that’s in the left toe. A dark imprint of my heel in both shoes. They are no longer an angelical white, but instead are laced with dirt. Not only are they a visual reminder of the adventure I went on they carry it physically within the very laces and on the soles.
Do you think objects have memories? I like to think they do. I like to think that when I wear them here in my own city I’m also touching parts of Italy, Spain, and Scotland all at the same time. One glance at me and you can’t tell that I’ve been on the journey of a lifetime but once glance at the shoes and you know they have been through something. That in their own way they have seen places, and have felt things.
In the end they are just shoes. Just a smelly pair of white keds, but if I close my eyes it almost feels like I’m abroad again. So I guess for now I’ll keep them.
“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”