Taking a shine to an old pair of brown shoes

December 2, 2010 — Leave a comment

I remember years ago I once read an article in the National Geographic about shoes. It told how there is a story behind every pair of shoes.

As a 13-year-old fashionista, I naturally delved into it and used it as a subject for an English class presentation, knowing all along that really – when you think about it – there is a story behind every personal possession. As if to confirm that, a Rimowa shopping bag for my laptop read “every case tells a story” (I didn’t make this up).

Nonetheless, I was prompted to think about the story behind my shoes a few days ago when they were complimented upon.

The shoes in question are a humble-looking pair – brown, suede oxfords – that are slightly worn but can look impeccably new if given a decent polish (a task that doesn’t seem to be on the calendar any time in the near future).

My mom told me she got them around 20 years ago and stopped wearing them because they fell out of fashion.I first tried them on the night before Secondary Three started. My school had a rather annoying rule that only brown shoes could be worn. So after some fretful scavenging, I found an abandoned pair of Ferragamos in my mom’s closet. I remember being mildly wary of their masculinity. But that night I was desperate. I decided anything was better than the muck- colored Mary Janes I had been wearing for the past three years.

I haven’t worn them since I left secondary school, but began wearing them again a week ago because I thought they looked cool.

Stories that children hear and learn about the world, stories that adults make up to satisfy the world, and stories in general are told in the past tense.

We all love stories because they explain things of the present and anticipate events of the future. We tell them because they are the only way to relate to things and people long past. My shoes are a quiet pair. They don’t say much – but before long, you will see them as a loyal pair that have been through rain, sprints, Hong Kong, New York City, mother and daughter. Student Gloria Yu lives life with passion and writes about it with hope.


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