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Two Shoes

Two worn shoes shuffle down a sidewalk, one after the other. They go down streets and up hills, following the cracked path of concrete alongside the road. The right shoe, slightly more scuffed than its counterpart, has a slight squeak that the Wearer has come so accustomed to hearing; the left shoe’s lining protrudes a little through the worn soles and fits snugly to the heel it is accustomed to supporting. The shoes continue for a way until they pause and point off to the side toward a fierce, towering building. The shoes have traveled the entryway before, although the familiar hand railing beside sports a fresh black coat of paint. The myriad of tiny windows reminds the Wearer of the faint slits of light that penetrate inside the walls, into the dark rooms within. So many questions, delicately worded though painfully considered were asked there. Most replies equally planned out, paying careful attention to the diction so as to remain guarded. How many Rorschach inkblots had been poured over, only to cause further confusion in the mind of the Wearer as to which thoughts he should verbally articulated? Rather than allowing him to tap into his subconscious feelings, it had made him self-conscious about the way he thought about these dumb pictures of nothing. Was there something wrong with the way he saw nothing in nothing? Did he have some inherent flaw due to his discomfort and inability to discuss something as meaningless as an intentionally symmetrical spill?
“Maybe that’s all our lives boil down to, simply trying to take our spills and make them look symmetrical, or at least intentional,” he once thought during one of these interrogations. He remembered trying to verbalize this to the Questioner, because he was told to speak aloud what he was thinking. He would never forget this first time he had tried to cooperate, simply to obey, but how it only lead to more intense probing about where that thought had come from, how long he had been feeling this way, and more questions not-so-delicately worded about explicit things he was very uncomfortable with and had never discussed before; he was certainly not ready to do so then, not with someone as unknown and impersonal as the Questioner. It would set the stage for a series of stressful meetings between them, the questions more penetrating and responses increasingly more guarded with each confrontation. The meetings originally designed to dissolve problems and create solutions seemed to be working in reverse, only compartmentalizing which areas of his hurt the Wearer was able to comfortably articulate and which would remained closed off, more carefully guarded under fresh scar tissue than before.
He suddenly becomes aware of the repetitive squeaking sound coming from the right shoe nervously tapping on the ground, and stops. He refocuses his gaze on the road ahead, and is glad to be walking in a direction past the building rather than into it as he had so many times before. Only this time as he walked away, he left behind something more than sore spirits and a decreasing sense of self-esteem: he left his shoes.





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