2019 'SHORT TAKES' PROSE COMPETITION
CATEGORY B -
Best Buddies by Tania Park
You are so ugly. And brown. You know I can’t stand the colour and never wear brown. Being chunky is your next sin. In fact there is nothing attractive about you. There is only one reason I forked out almost two hundred dollars to buy you all those years ago.
With those special socks between my skin and your hard, moulded base, together we have covered hundreds of kilometres in five different continents. First we traipsed through Greece. The streets of Athens were a breeze but climbing those slippery marble slabs to the top of the Acropolis wasn’t so easy. You don’t do well on wet, shiny marble. We loved every kilometre of exploring the islands of the Inner Cyclades.
Next we went on that fabulous river cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. Just how many cobblestones have you carried me over? My feet ached at the end of each day after spending hours on hard, rough rocks but not one single blister did you give me. I can imagine how hard it was on you. Yet you survived and barely showed any wear.
The following year, we zigzagged through the wild-
Twelve months later I had hopes of wearing you out so I could get rid of the ugly brown, so I took you via Dubai, where the streets and pavements were so hot I thought you would melt your tough soles. You didn’t melt but I sure felt like I did. That was on the way to Venice, where you got lost and took me over all 200 plus bridges at least twice. Cruising the Adriatic, from there, was fantastic. But my faithful friends, all those cobblestones again! We ended up in the Dordogne region in the South of France where we stayed in one of those ancient village cottages. Such gorgeous scenery I didn’t even think about how you were faring, especially every morning when we trotted down the hill to buy our still hot, fresh croissants for breakfast. Ending this journey by driving through the centre of Spain and Portugal gave you a rest most of each day – not that you complained.
One year later, those Asian cities were a trial with hordes of people to weave through on filthy streets, cracked pavements and stinking deep drains, accompanied by sudden torrential downpours. You never leaked, showed the dirt and didn’t mind the humidity that almost killed me. I’m over Asia.
Still you were in great shape, but still you were ugly and brown so we spent four weeks exploring both coasts of South America, through the Panama Canal and back to the U.S.A. where, for three weeks, I walked you through another five states.
You did well until we got to New York. The trek from the ferry point near the Statue of Liberty all the way up to 75th Street via Central Park almost did me in. My feet protested before halfway. Towards the end I couldn’t even feel them any longer. Lifting you off the ground, one after the other was torture. It felt as though each of you weighed a ton, causing my shins and thighs to protest at each step. Why didn’t you tell me it was over ten kilometres and nudge me in the direction of the underground?
I know you were protesting because you ripped to shreds bit that wrapped around my heel, ensuring you never walked another step with me. Your sole was still in great shape and your ugly brown top showed no marks to indicate the miles and trials we’d shared. Maybe brown wasn’t such a bad colour despite me having not one item of brown clothing to match. You never went with anything I wore.
But sorry, my fabulous friends, into the bin you go. I’ve been to the Merrel store and found a sleeker, smarter looking replacement: black with dashing purple stripes and much lighter to wear.
Farewell my walking buddies.