I found you on clearance at a shopping mall. A shopping mall whose glory rose in 1997 and blew tumbleweeds by 2006. 2006 when I found my dear sweet Tevas on clearance for $29.99.
I bought you in May of 2006. May of 2006 was my first ‘real trip’ abroad.
I was off to claim the Forbidden City, scale the Great Wall, and climb misty mountain tops to drink swirling green tea in a flimsy plastic cup. I was off to China, not without my Tevas.
You carried me through Beijing’s dusted roads. You didn’t carry me up the Great Wall, sorry to say.
The Forbidden City got trampled with Teva tracks.
On the last leg of the journey, you carried me over slippery mountains with rain pattering puddles, you never let me fall.
And then I put you away, barely acknowledged your presence until 2010.
2010, back to China. Back to the Forbidden City and a new city, Shenzhen, Longhua, to be exact with my Tevas strapped to my feet.
We waded through murky Longhua streets during Shenzhen’s rainy season. You never minded a good bleaching after.
You walked me all over Shenzhen and even walked my Mom all over Shenzhen.
You pedaled me around SE Asia in 2012.
And then in 2013, I introduced the Jungle to you.
I thought you would make it.
I thought we could pull through.
We made it
We pulled through.
But your lower flap breathed in air and twigs.
Blood was on the front strap between dirt cakes.
You let carpenter ants climb their way up and bite my jungled skin.
My bleeding blistered feet said, ‘good riddance’ on that bungalow floor on Koh Chang, Thailand to my beloved, $29.99 Tevas.