WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Iconic

For this week’s challenge, we want you to snap a photo of something that is iconic to you. It can even be a picture of your favorite pair of shoes that you wear nearly every day and has come to personify your personal style.

Morning. The human drags herself out of bed and we wait by the wardrobe door. Nowadays it’s winter, and so we don’t get to live inside the big cozy space that our colleagues do. Still, we shiver and don’t protest, proud that the human relies on us so much. Our other colleagues are relegated to the rack, tucked away and hibernating. We like to think she chooses us so often because we are the best of the lot: in winter, scruffy sneakers and flimsy flats just can’t compete. Normally we can tell if the human is up with a good amount of time, or if she has overslept: if it’s the former, she’ll idly make lunch and gather her things. If it’s the latter, she’ll rush around, yank fabric on her feet and reach for us, then flutter around in a panic finding keys, books and mutter about buying lunch.

She keeps us on standby, probably so as not to have to dig around for us. We stand tall and proud by the door, ready and waiting. If she’s in a temper, which does seem to happen as she’s not a morning person, she’ll stomp around and it does irritate us a little bit. Can’t she calm down or at least be a bit gentler? Calm down, she does not: she has been known to express irritation with thrown items or kicked doors. We are careful not to leave scuff marks.

Sometimes we have to wait while she fusses around, makeup or selecting another top, and we just have to be graceful and obliging about it.

Once she’s done with her morning house-ritual, we walk together to the big vehicle that takes her to university. It’s a brief walk, but utterly silent. The human walks alone, and she jams little white things in her ears and takes out a little metal box. Occasionally sounds spill out from the box, and we suppose she must be listening to something quite loud. We must hinder her walking progress, because sometimes she looks down the road and sees the vehicle coming, and doesn’t get to the stop in time. This is when she’ll sometimes curse quietly and possibly scuff us against the ground; whether she is punishing us, or just annoyed at waiting, we can’t tell.

On the vehicle, we sit quietly. She takes out a book and either reads or writes, or just sits and listens to music. It’s often that she’ll stare out the window. Some days, which especially annoy her, are the ones where the vehicle has so many humans that some have to stand.

Midday. The human will be at university and it’s our busiest time. She scuffs over pavement, taps over tiles, kicks leaves aside and digs her foot into soft flooring. We see hundreds, thousands of humans every day, and no two people are the same. These humans carry books with strange words and intriguing titles. Our human is interested by some, as we see by the way she tilts her head to get a better look at the book-spine and we imagine that she would want to study such things. Her own books are quite fascinating, we think, but we never get a chance to prove this theory because she doesn’t read aloud much. Sometimes she does, and the words are funny words, not at all the kind we hear in daily conversation.

The humans also carry bags and shiny boxes with which they take notes or talk to others. We wonder what we might be inclined to do if we were human for a day.

Our human often sits near her next class and has lunch. Other humans will join her and they will talk about anything. She will sometimes ask random questions or make idle comments, and the people will look at her like she might be speaking another language. Then again, given that she likes to read funny-word languages, she well might be.  She does speak a second language, too – not the funny words she reads aloud, but something different.

In class, we sit and listen quietly. We are interested by all the things the lecturing human is talking about; we don’t always understand it, but it sounds clever. Our human likes clever, and she diligently scribbles her notes. She comments that her handwriting is terrible, but we are hidden under her desk and we can’t see for ourselves.

Classes finish and the human walks to another place to get the big vehicle home. She doesn’t linger at university much; after class, she packs away her books and chats a bit with other humans before drifting away and calling her ‘see you later’. It’s around this time that we might punish her by hurting her legs or ankles; she will sometimes retaliate with threats to replace us, to throw us into the very back of the wardrobe where we shall never see the light of day again. The threat always works, and we behave ourselves. We don’t want to be tossed aside and forgotten.

Evening. We have reached another evening. The human tugs us off and sets us down. She yawns and it’s evident she likes evenings better than mornings. Over the next few hours she comes alive again, waking up more and doing various tasks. We watch as she heads to the dining room for dinner, puts the radio on or flips it off with a murmur about a horrible piece of noise, not to be dignified with the title of song. At times she will put on our cousins, but the cousins look softer and more comfortable. We envy our cousins, who are not so tall and glossy.

Before bed, she will put us by the wardrobe and sometimes coax us into standing straight. By midnight, we are tired and starting to droop a bit. Even when she is asleep, she appears to hear us, and slips out of bed to encourage us to stand up. We do so, and by the light of one of her little metal gadgets, she will sometimes set a pair of the strange feet-fabric by us.

The temperature dips and we hear a clicking sound which is apparently meant to keep her warm. We stand there all night, waiting patiently for the morning when the human will next need us for the day.

31 thoughts on “WordPress Weekly Writing Challenge: Iconic”

    1. Thanks! I once remember reading something about someone talking to houseplants… Plus the phrase about being a fly on the wall. It’s autumn now and flies are semi-scarce, so I thought boots would be more fun. And the best part is, coming up to winter, they will be in more use.
      Thank you! I squealed like a squealing thing when I saw the email and haven’t stopped smiling.

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  1. I love this piece! It almost sounds like the boots are a beloved pet or working animal. As someone who wore the same pair of boots for almost an entire college career, I know how you can get attached to footwear. Mine never talked to me as yours do here. Except maybe once. I was at a showing of Midsummer Night’s Dream and two of the actors “fell asleep” right at my feet. I was so tempted to reach out my foot and tickle one of them, but then I heard my boots yelling, “No, don’t do it! It’s January, and we’re filthy with road salt.” Sometimes, footwear can have better character than us “humans”.

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    1. Thanks! I suppose they’re working, after all they have a sort-of job to do: keep my feet warm, protect me from stepping on a shard of glass etc. One pair of boots? I’m impressed 🙂 This is about my sixth, but I tend to go for inexpensive ones. These are a bit sturdier though, let’s hope I still have them next winter. Glad your boots stopped you from tickling the actors awake: I’m given to understand road salt can be grimy. (Is it grimy?) True, it can be more faithful and interesting than people… Doesn’t say much for humans, does it?

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      1. My boots were cheap too, only $3. I like to think they were magic or blessed by some Protective Saint of Perpetually Broke Learners to last that long. About road salt yes, it is grimy. And smelly. And gritty. Stains like crazy too. Not anything you want to have rubbed in your fine Shakespearean costume.

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  2. I loved this, not just for the creative idea but for your writing style, very nicely done! I recently wrote a story about my shoes titled, “The higher the heel, the closer to God,” and I really connected to your boots. Or rather, you in them! 🙂 Thank you!

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  3. Thank you. This is so lovely. There is nothing like a favourite pair of boots to take you through the day at uni. I am intrigued to know what languages the human speaks and what she is studying. I wonder like your boots do about so many things I could not see. I think the things we can’t see here are as powerful as the things you showed us. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

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    1. Thank you 🙂 Apologies for such a late response, I’ve been sick. The human speaks English and some German. She can read Middle English and Shakespeare’s English. She is studying… English literature. I think I mentioned above, it was sort of fly-on-the-wall inspired.
      Thanks again for the feedback 🙂

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