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Peace Frog This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   My feet smiled at me as I put on their magic. Each tiny little toe sparkled in the sunshine, as I walked to my first day of school. A snowy strap with paisley laughed as my feet tickled their bottoms. I held Matt's hand every step of the way, looking down at the flattened grass behind me. Kindergarten I thought was the biggest accomplishment. We'd listen to stories the teacher would read to us then would draw a picture or write a story about it. One day we made foot prints on paper. I chose the color blue.

In our room we had what you call a pit. It was a little space in the floor which curved in like a pit, the carpet inside was a deep color of orange. I remember looking down at that carpet and looking at those beautiful shoes. I thought they were the best pair of shoes I would ever own. Then that orange kindergarten carpet I used to step on turned to blue with barely a blink of an eye, or a trip to the shoe store.

As I made the transition from kindergarten to first grade so did my shoes. One day as we sat in the shallow pit all the children sang to me as I hopped in a circle. They endlessly screamed, "Brand-new shoes, brand-new shoes, Debbie's got brand-new shoes. They are nice; they are new, now let's see what they can do!" Naturally my shoes could do the impossible, but the best thing I could show them was how I could hop better with my new canvas pink, blue, green pastel, Velcro shoes. Then as I began to hop around the room, they all hopped out of the pit and followed me hopping like Easter bunnies, hopping like frogs. But my feet nevertheless hopped higher and faster than any other bunny or frog that day in Mrs. Carpenter's first-grade class. Before I knew it the carpet changed from dark blue to green. As the colors changed, so did my size. Not only was I amazed how my new blue tennies could almost touch the floor of the car, but my mom was amazed how frequently we took trips to Hush Puppies.

In second grade it made no difference whether I wore Kangaroos or Nikes as long as they were blue. Looking at my feet, I discovered my shoes were untied. The floor seemed to come up from under me and my shoes turned from second-grade blue canvas to third-grade white and pink high-tops. The year before I was so excited to wear tennies so I could lean down and tie them, just to say that the bunny's ear trick worked for me. My high-topped lace-ups were crucial for all those after-school adventures Douger would take Matt, Cory, Kelli, and me on. For some odd reason I had to have the color that was hardest to clean and would show every grass stain and dirt mark. But without a doubt there was no way I could have explored as much without them.

Again the carpet changed colors. I entered fourth grade which would reflect my most outrageous year as a kid. I was in a club, a club I thought I'd be in for the rest of my life. But like everything those days, I would find out nothing lasts for a lifetime, especially shoes.

Soon after the year of clubs and exploration, I woke up in the fifth grade. Boy, popularity was crucial. This year the shoes mattered as much as the hair, the clothes, and the boys. Sure enough I had to impress this certain male at the carnival so I bought the most radical pair of shoes I could find. Sure enough and soon enough, my fifth-grade shoes were completely outdated, come sixth grade. Popularity in sixth grade still remained an essential, since we were the kings of the school. Shoes, I thought, told what kind of character you had. So my shoes should stand out. My nickname was "Super Fred" and with that kind of name, I felt my shoes should be super too.

As I stepped into the vast hallway, my Doc's looked up at me and winked. With every squeak they told me to relax and smile. I was confused at what people would think of me. Naturally I wanted to look hip, yet I didn't want to seem too hip, then maybe they wouldn't give me the time of day. But as the day passed, without a blink I found everything I needed to get me though the year before high school. As I skip down the hallway, my feet look up at me and smile. With every step I take, they tickle my toes and insist that I dance. The floor is hard and less sweet than before, but I have grown. Nothing is forever, especially shoes. c


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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