March 25, 2010
By Heidi Long BRONZE, Lititz, Pennsylvania
Heidi Long BRONZE, Lititz, Pennsylvania
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

The laces intertwine across the tongue of my shoe in a subtle yet puzzling fashion. Like escaped convicts weaving cautiously through a crowd, they desperately endeavor to remain unnoticed and anonymous. These cotton criminals peek through perfectly shaped, metal tunnels, discreetly guiding them away from the dangers of the feared nemesis; knots. The laces come together along the center of the shoe, dancing tightly around each other with the grace of figure skaters until the time comes for each to fly back to its designated side. A dark blur lives at each point of contact, indicating the many months in which they have been firmly secured together.

The color of these laces resembles the gradual transition from the skin of youths to that of the aged. In the years since the conception of these cords, their hue has dimmed to a gray, drab version of plowed snow-sludge. However, the depths of the dull cotton, the reverie of the once brilliantly white shoelace lives on. in. These strings are a generation of actresses who have outlived their time of stardom. They hold unchanged talent from the performances in their prime, yet lack the radiance and splendor of youth.

Bearing the blemishes of numerous journeys through the washing machine, the edges of these worn laces are hazy and unclear. In the midst of imperfect edges, etchings of woven fibers can be distinguished running horizontally along the grain of fabric with the regimentation of ancient Chinese soldiers. The flowing weave of threads captures the comforting tone of waves in an ocean of grain. This repetition provides a sense of identity that shines through the heavy stages of aging these shoelaces have withstood.

As with any part of a shoe, my laces carry a distinct, unpleasant odor that could disturb even the strongest of noses. Each whiff attempts to deceive the nasal passages with foul tales of popcorn, gasoline, fish, or wet earth. Unfortunately for my socks, this scent is transferred to them after a long day of intimacy. Through scent, the laces, as well as the rest of the shoes, hold evidence of ventures down the streets of Lima, around a leprosy hospital, and from third to fourth period classes. They have encircled my feet as I’ve trekked from point A to point B, and back again. They have been buried in sand, snow, and dirty laundry. They have been left outside in the rain, only to freeze overnight and be found in the morning, canvas shrunken and deformed by the elements.

My shoelaces tell a story of originality and freedom. Uniqueness is woven into every fiber of cotton and every twisted knot. These ancient laces speak with the linguistics of one who strives to embrace individuality, quite literally from head to toe.

The author's comments:
I originally was going to write about my entire shoe, but became so engrossed with the shoelace that I couldn't bring myself to jump to the other parts. Note: these shoelaces are connected to sneakers missing nearly 75% of the sides. I receive many offers of free shoes...

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