When I'm out on my bike, I stop for turtles.
I've only stopped for one live one, a big old slider. It was at the curb just west of Preston on Eldorado. It looked like maybe it was trying to climb the curb, and it wasn't going to make it. Sooner or later it was going to make a break across the open road and that would likely be its end. I took it by the edge of its shell and somehow held it balanced on my handlebars until I could pedal over to the pond at nearby Warren Park.
But most of the turtles I stop for are less fortunate, and more characterized by flatness. And most of them I pass by on the bike until something registers, and I think what was that and I go back and look. I see more dead turtles on the byways here in Frisco than I do dead armadillos.
When I was out for my ride this morning, something caught my eye near a curb drain. It was too smooth to be a turtle; I doubted it was a smooth soft-shelled turtle so far from water so I pedaled on for another few dozen yards or so, until I knew I had to turn around.
It was a shoe.
It was this shoe:
A woman's shoe with a smashed high heel. I turned it over but its topside was crusted with dirt. The little plastic sticker with what I assumed to be the size was still on it -- you can see it there. It's either a W6 or a 9M, I think the latter.
I wondered if it was ever a nice shoe. The Memsahib could have told me, but I imagined the looks I would have gotten if I had brought the filthy thing home and asked her. It looked to be worn through at the toe and there by the arch, and worn and stained on the sole, injuries probably caused by overwear and not the trauma of exposure. It was probably a cheap shoe that just wore out and was thrown away.
But still I wondered about it. Wondered at its story, at the story of the woman who wore it to pieces and eventually discarded it. Who may have really loved that pair of shoes, must have, because she wore them until this one, at least, fell apart.
And what about that heel, the tip broken off ? Maybe it had been run over. If not, though . . . what violence brought it to that state?
And maybe I was wrong about those holes. Maybe those holes weren't there when this shoe lost its way, and it has been in the elements for so long that rot or colllision or some other influence has brought it to that state.
Surely it had been a lot of places, with that tread worn smooth like that. A woman wouldn't just wear heels like that around the house, would she?
And how did it get there? Not such a mysterious question -- all kind of junk ends up next to roadways (but then, I wonder how that junk gets there, too). Someone hauling garbage, and it fell out. Someone littered.
Where is its mate?
I imagined that a woman who wears holes in her shoes is not well off, or is otherwise unable to replace worn apparel. Perhaps elderly -- but no, not with that heel, and not a shoe that strappy.
I thought further back, to where the pair was made, and how, and by whom. Where it was purchased. Tried on, admired, just the ticket, I'll take them.
The only certain conclusion I reached was that no one who had ever encountered this shoe would have imagined that it would come to rest on the northbound Dallas Parkway just south of Panther Creek next to a curb drain.
But that's wrong -- it hasn't come to rest. The next time I pedal by there, it will be gone. Perhaps down the drain, perhaps scooped up by road cleaners, perhaps carried off by a critter.
I got back on the bike and pedaled off, into my own unimaginable story.