Today’s Miles: 15.6
Total Miles: 4,356.6
Near Monesple, France – February 14, 2017
Yesterday was peaceful until he walked in. I was content in my little corner on the shelf. No one bothered me. No one even noticed me. I think it’s because I never really fit in there, the only 49 in a world of 46s. The other shoes made fun of me at first, called me “long toe” and “planks,” but it died down and after they moved me from the main wall to the discount rack. That’s when I became just another sad pair of shoes.
That 50% off tag hurts the pride, I’m not going to lie. You hear some pairs pretend they don’t care, but the truth is that no one gets their last stitches in, settles down in their box, and says “I’m not worth full retail.” Not one pair. We all think our destiny is to be day one sales. But hang around long enough and the tag man comes for us all.
Like I said, the other shoes used to give me a hard time before I got tagged. Then they just gave me sympathy. Never heard one call me planks after that day.
That’s pretty much where things stood when he walked in. Gruff looking fellow. Kinda dirty. Smelled a bit, not going to lie, like sweat and dirt. He picked me up, frowned, carried me around for a while, put me back. I heard him ask a clerk if they had any hiking shoes my size. Clerk said no and he picked me up again and stared at me, frowning. Next thing I knew I was at a register.
That’s not how I thought life would go when I was a young shoe. I’m a runner, see, flat bottomed, made for pavement, ready to fly. I always thought some flashy fellow would see me and fall in love. Thought he’d lace me up in the store and jog around on the carpet a bit, smile down, and tell me we’re going to train for marathons together.
Instead, this hairy fellow picks me up like I’m his last choice, like I’m the nerdy kid in gym class, and the next thing I know we are walking out the door. Then, last night, he tossed me on the floor next to a pair of hiking shoes, real old fellows, mud, dirt, torn up a bit, crushed down by the miles. One of those old, beaten up, but proud pairs you come across in the stories.
And this old pair starts talking to me. Says he hasn’t seen another pair in months. He’s full of stories. He told me about Germany, about waiting in a box at some women named Miriam’s house. He said they once crossed the Alps in Switzerland in December, said there was snow everywhere at one point. He even had stories about the Italian countryside, Mediterranean coast, and French villages. I didn’t know what to believe, you know these old fellows, when they get to talking they just rattle on and on. I figured half of what he told me wasn’t true, but he sure looked the part so maybe it was. I don’t know. Then the old fellows told me they didn’t have much left in them. I tried to reassure them, tell them they could keep going, but I was lying through my tongues. I could see it in their soles, they were about done.
So this morning comes and I’m expecting to go running. But that man just strapped me to his pack and started walking. Walked a good mile or two, then stopped at a bench and tossed me on the ground, the dirt ground, that savage, right next to that old hiking pair.
Well the old guys leans over and tell me they’re done, last steps taken, it’s all over for them and I realize this is it, I’m getting the call.
Well, it ain’t what I hoped for. Let me tell you. To start off, his sock has an inch wide hole in it, but whatever, I always imagined a fresh white ankle sock, but I can roll with it. But then the harry fellow leans down and, mind you this is right as he first put me on, you know, the moment all shoes dream of, he leans down and says, “You’re not my first choice, but I guess you’ll do.”
Yea, exactly. Felt burnt to a crisp.
Needless to say, that isn’t what a pair of shoes likes to hear on a first date, but whatever.
Then he says, “Just get me to Spain.”
Spain? Is this fool for real? We are in France, son, there is a mountain range between us and Spain. I am a runner. I am for roads. I don’t do mountains.
“I think you got it in you,” he says.
I shake it off, whatever, this is still exciting. He is crazy, but I don’t care. It’s the first day with feet. He stood up and in one swift motion he just threw the old fellows in a trash can. Damn rough ending them boys, but what can I do. There is no shoe retirement home. I couldn’t focus on that anyway. I had to get ready my first steps. The moment every shoe dreams of.
Yep, two steps in, not a speck of dirt on me, clean soles, and wham, right in a stack of dog shit.
“Damn,” I heard him say.
Well, I guess that’s how it goes sometimes. Upshot is that it can only get better from there. Onwards to Spain, I suppose, or wherever this scruffy fellow is taking me.