Villafranca del Bierzo, Spain – March 23, 2017
I know it’s over now. I know these are my last steps. I’m not blind. I saw the box slide across the counter, the relief on the bearded man’s face. I know what’s inside the box. Some fancy new pair of shoes, no rips, no stretched seams, no time-flattened soles. I am certain.
If I were petty, I’d slip now. The path is slick with rain. It would be easy to pull off, just a little slide on the pavement. A little spill to remind that bearded fellow how good he’s had it. But I won’t. I’m too proud. I’ll stick to the ground just like I stuck to every other step I took. I never once slipped. Not once. Not on this path, not on any path, not once from here to that discount shelf he found me on in France.
It makes me laugh now, that old shelf. I was as fresh as a white pair of socks right out of the bag then, but I thought I knew the world, thought I was old because I’d been on that shelf for so long. Look at me now, ripped up on the front a bit, soles crushed down into pancakes, dirt smeared over every inch. I’m not any color anymore, I’m just a bunch of was, like I was black, I was green, I was white. Just was. But you don’t grow standing still. You got to move.
Seven hundred miles, I think. Seven hundred. Not bad for a pair of forgotten has beens that no one gave a chance to. How do you like me now you fancy hundred and fifty dollar runners sitting in someone’s closet? Only dragging your tired soles out for a week every January after New Year’s resolution season? Telling me I’ll never make it. Hard to for seven hundred miles one week a year. I crossed whole mountains. I walked across most of Spain. What did you do besides snuggle up to some heels in a closet under a pile of dirty laundry?
Sorry, I forget myself. Too much shit talking with all these hiking boots I’ve met, coming at me like they know something I don’t. I should be more stoic at a moment like this. Maybe I should be focusing on these last steps, really enjoying them, something like that. I don’t know. It’s hard to know it’s over, to know that after seven hundred miles, that’s just it for me.
But I think I’m ok with it or at least I will be. I could have had a long life in a closet, sure, but that’s not what I was made for, it’s not why my soles were created. I was made for something better than closets and if that means I end up tossed out in the garbage with a day old pizza box, I will pay that price because, for seven hundred miles, I lived the dream and I never slipped, not once.
Not bad for an old discount rack pair of runners like myself, not bad at all.