A solitary white shoe lies at a fork in the path. Who it belonged to was nowhere to be seen, not since July of 1941, when at the corner of Chatham and Marianna she stepped into a black car and out of time, leaving only questions in the decades of search that followed a torrent of remorse. How the image of a forlorn shoe on a forest path can act as a trigger, pulling at the material, smearing it with mud and neglect, unraveling the mystery of an overly active mind as it searches for resolution among the empty bottles and other remains. Years go by and the story gets drained of its lustre, paths leading only to dead ends. Just off of that road that twists through the pasture, infamous for its bends and with a reputation that lends to the atmosphere. Thick was the surrounding wood and swamp alder. A solitary white shoe illumed by moonlight on the forest floor, fallout from a black car, like a prop that would suggest much more of misplaced trust than anything else as it tiptoes into time’s tragedy. Like the dog-end of a cigarette, it is strewn over the psychic wound in the landscape, inanimate object from the distant past still holds a powerful resonance as its cautionary tale is suspended like headlights in the fog. Keep your loved ones close, or at least hold on to that illusion as that car draws nearer. It appears ancient and square-backed, what sets its wheels in motion also seals shut the heavy metal doors. As it passes, all of life get reflected in its windows. You’ve only a moment to notice the details, half-asleep from the passenger side. Some roads are bumpier than others, like it or not we go along for the ride.
How many miscellaneous articles like this one are destined to the fate of evidence, that this individual once existed? Now merely a pine grove stone for remembrance, with no loved ones left to maintain. While the shoe will remain in a police cabinet or where it was left to the elements, to the corrosive rain. Memories can live in attics and lover’s lanes, dilapidated sheds and sometimes in plain sight. We can distance ourselves but they do not disappear. You can hear their tiny footsteps like frequencies along the webs the imagination gets tangled in. A white shoe shimmering in a forgotten corner, belonging to the ghosts of fading yearbook photos. She would have walked with them through the halls of English, spying the tower down Oakwood as you did but in a different era and over the expanse of sea and night, like a coastal beacon casting its light, shortening the distance suggested by time, so there in the forest it lies, a solitary white shoe and who it belonged to subtly reveals something of her essence again.
In Memory of Frances Cochran