It had always been dark. I had always been cloaked in black. There may have been a dream of colours once, a large room full of noise and confusion while slowly becoming aware of my twin and I’s existence. Mirror twins, blind forever. Sometimes we spoke wondering if there had been colours, wondering if they were dream or memory.
Then the light came!
It was wonderful, a crack appeared in the corner of the dark and spread quickly, illuminating our prone forms. From black our world was transformed and we saw ourselves my twin and I. Slowly drawn from our bed, we were moving, mounting a large machine which started to whirr and whine with a rhythm that gradually increased and we were bouncing over the surface one after the other.
Deep down it felt right, this is what we had been made to do. It was not easy and every landing felt heavier than the one before, every leap into the air got smaller, until the pulsating whirr and whine slowed to a stop. Still there had been a taste of something better and we wanted to go again. Instead we returned to the darkness. This time we knew it had not been a dream. The pair of us picked apart this new experience until we drifted back into a slumber.
The next time we were bathed in light we were somewhere new. There was no whirring machine just gasps and murmurs. We bounced across a soft floor and then out into a cold fresh world where things began to get interesting. Moving faster than before we jumped from point to point over an unyielding surface. The rhythm of our movement was fast, faster than we had ever been. Way above us the sound of laboured breath got louder and then all of a sudden we stopped.
Drained and exhilarated while at the same time feeling so alive, surely we were made to move like this. It hadn’t lasted long and we were itching to try some more. Within a minute or two the panting slowed and we were skipping along the road again, this time we did not stop, instead we slowed right down before speeding up again. This repeated several times before once again we were back inside. Exhausted and satisfied, instead of returning to our bed we found ourselves pushed into a cupboard.
Here it was not black. Here it was very dim, and my twin and I met some other pairs. There was Posh, an immaculately tidy couple made from shiny patent leather, covered in a thin film of dust. Posh never left the cupboard but continually told everyone how important they were. Party was an uncomfortable looking duo, overexcited full of tales of adventure and flashing lights, until they made one of their rare evening excursions out. Invariably they came back depressed. Finally there was Work. Work left the cupboard to go out into the world everyday. Unlike the other pairs there were no tales, a kind of resigned gloom hung over them. They knew there had been a work before them and they knew there would be a work after them. Although not the oldest they seemed to know more of the world than anyone else, they had travelled far and wide and met many other pairs, all of whom ended up the same way. Banished forever into a strange place from which no one ever returned. The bin.
Time passed and our excursions became regular, life settled down into a repetition of trips out across the carpet, onto the road and then back to the cupboard. As time passed there was less heavy breathing, the pace became more consistent and we got quicker too. Nothing much in the cupboard changed except for us. Our heels became worn, small holes appeared where toes tried to climb out and Posh, Party and Work began to look at us pityingly. One day when we came back from a particularly long excursion Posh addressed us directly.
“I am sorry to be the one to tell you, but you are getting worn out. It will not be long till you are consigned to the bin.” Posh spoke with some relish.
The next time we left the cupboard something new happened and we were afraid. We were thrown into a bag and everything went dark again. Huddling together we wondered if this was the dreaded bin, would eternity look like this, ink black again with no reprieve. A cruel punishment, having been bathed in the glorious light of the wide world, was it to be snatched from us? We were worn and tired, a rest would be nice but we weren’t ready to give up.
Outside we could hear noise like a thousand people speaking all together and the bag was opened. We found ourselves surrounded by others like us, more than we could possibly count. A tag was attached to our laces and we waited, shuffling gently in a huge flock of similar shoes. Then we were off, this mass of bodies and footwear moving together, faster than we had been before, longer than we had been before until finally it was over. We ground to a halt, the tag was removed and we returned to the bag.
When we finally re-emerged we did not return to the cupboard. Instead we found ourselves hoisted high into the air and placed upon a shelf. Around us was draped a ribbon carrying a large gold disc and there we sat.
We felt special, we looked special and, we watched the world. On most mornings we saw Work leaving the cupboard and, we knew our story went back into the gloom. We saw all kinds of shoes come and go and, occasionally we would be taken down from the shelf.
“These were my first trainers, I ran my first marathon in them”