March 30, 2013 in lau0601, oneshots by lau0601

This was written as an entry for one of Seeko’s 30 minute challenges. If you want to see the three prompts used in the story, go check his thread out!

She pulls at the shoelaces, watching numbly as they fall apart from the knot. Another day, another night, another pair of shoes.

Taeyeon likes shoes, has always liked shoes. For some people, it might be cars, books, posters – but for Taeyeon, it’s always been shoes. It’s the shoe shops that she can’t resist walking through – the shiny sneakers, casual flats, flip-flops, even. She can’t even count how many spontaneous (and later regretted) purchases she’s made, just from shoes alone.

Taeyeon likes shoes.

She has quite a few pairs, some she wears more than others. The thing about each pair, though, is that she remembers what came with it, what happened in the moment when she had them on her feet.

The red ones, her first pair of red shoes, she remembers that she was wearing them on her first day of middle school. She remembers feeling stupid and self-conscious later on, because, well, red was eye-catching, and Taeyeon didn’t want to be eye-catching. Not on the first day of school, not on the last, not ever.

The white sandals were nice. Sure, they worried her ankles when she walked, and the straps fell off a little sooner than she had expected, but she liked them. She liked how they had made her feel uninhibited, new, free. She liked running through the grass, feeling the dew with her toes. It had been a nice day, the first of many she had spent with him. And oddly enough, the sandals had fallen apart the day they, too, fell apart. So she threw them away – and tried to do the same with her memories of him.

The first time she had taken the subway at college was nerve-wracking. After two weeks of walking and running and desperately trying to get to school on time, Taeyeon finally ventured into the broiling sea of people as they all squeezed and pushed for time, time, time. She had been so squished in the train – jumping on at the last minute – that her nose was practically touching the window. It was such a tight fit that she couldn’t see her comfy brown sneakers when she tried to peek at her toes. She remembered, though, the look in her own eyes. It was rare that she got to see her eyes that closely, and when she did look into them, it wasn’t the anxiety she saw there that surprised her. It was the defiance, the courage, the determination – blazing clearly in the brown – it was all that, and it surprised her and made her smile.

She had cried once; with her blue high-tops and the funky mismatched socks. Her fifth rejection, the fifth time she had had to brush it off, look brave, keep her chin up, thank countless people for their well-wishes. She remembered how empty and tired she had felt, giving the words of energy and certainty to all those who had worried about her – and in the process, after the words had left her, how alone and small she had felt. She hadn’t saved any of the words for herself. At the end, it was only herself and those scruffy blue shoes in a small corner as her heart stopped trembling and finally splintered into a million, quiet, small pieces.

I can do it, she told herself, told the room, told her quiet black heels. I can do it. All that was left was for her to open the door, meet those eyes, sit, nod, and be done with it. She could do it. After all, she was Kim Taeyeon, the Kim Taeyeon who had worked her bu- who had worked very hard to get the interview. She was Kim Taeyeon, she was prepared, and she would get the job. I can do it.

And today, today they were her paint-splattered, artsy Vans. Her friend had given them to her, for what, she wasn’t sure. But she liked them. They had seen her through countless lonely walks, then countless solitary walks, and today, she was tired and numb and she had had enough. Slipping her shoes off, she felt the cool of the floor through her socks. She nudged the shoes to the side before standing up, slowly, and taking a deep breath.

“I’m home,” she said, to no one in particular.