The world around us is strewn with evidence.
I’m no detective, but when I see strange objects scattered around my life, I want the backstories. Like that positive pregnancy test ditched in our alley years ago, a pair of men’s boxer shorts discarded near it. What happened there? Curiosity ignited me, but there was nothing I could do about it — except scoop up the clues and drop them into the garbage bin.
Abandoned shoes fascinate me, and sometimes those vestiges of an exciting night appear on the street in front of our house. If only our security cameras could catch the entire drama behind what turns a full pair into a hapless single in the span of one evening.
I return home one day to something glinting on the sidewalk in front of our house. A pair of plastic silver stilettos — their heels so high I almost sprain my ankle looking at them — hangs out sans owner near our front steps. Two matching shoes? Together? Usually at some point in the night, one shoe divorces its partner. But this? Their strong marriage in the face of adversity is refreshing.
I crouch to examine the mystery. One heel looks like it skidded a ways on the pavement before it chose to spend the night at our place, and the other one stayed with it. Sweet, really. But what became of its human? Those shoes’ feet had landed somewhere, and they were worse off than Cinderella’s — a crazy night behind them with no souvenirs to keep.
Usually, found mementos from soirees take a walk around the house and head straight for our garbage can in the alley, but not this time. I pluck the shoes off our walk and carry them inside the house. I dab them with a Clorox wipe. My friend calls heels this high “curb shoes.” They were never meant to walk in. To wear a shoe of this height, you need your honey to drop you off at the curb of the establishment before he parks the car.
“You’re keeping them?” my first girl says, watching me swipe away the dirt.
“Yeah, what?” my second girl says with a smirk.
“Well, no,” I say.
My third girl laughs. “Can I try them on?”
I hand them over, and she does. They’re too big for her size sevens, but she takes a spin in them anyway. She clomps around like they’re play shoes. Next is my turn.
I slip them on. I’m no stranger to high heels of many heights and have put in the hours so I can walk naturally in them. Still, these plastic creatures trip me up as I take a lap around the living room rug.
A picture of the shoes’ owner flashes into my mind. A stereotypical picture of someone who would wear stilettos like these — and lose them.
They’re uncomfortable, these shoes, but that’s not what I notice next. I notice they’re size nines. My size.
A famous quote wings through my brain now — an urgent reminder — and I see how little I know.
I couldn’t walk a mile in these shoes, but maybe I should try.