no shoes

There is a strange thing that I have observed.

Perhaps a mere trifle of the confounding intricacies of time: a piffling coincidence. Nothing to think about, maybe. Not worth a ponder. Without grounding, possibly.

This thing, I am sure, is more than just random, terrifying synchronicity.

The girl who was bombed. She was pictured alone, lost, frightened, bloody, matted. Wandering, dusty, metallic taste in her mouth. Ringing ears, pink dress, utterly scared and shoeless.

The five year old who, disentangling herself from a minor wipe-out on her little skis – mistakes teaching new tricks on a daily basis – met her match. It was a man up the hill who let go. Who dropped the dead weight of wood, metal and rubber, and watched the cable drum hurtle down the hill – it had nowhere else to go, gravity will do that. Who slipped and made his small mistake into her largest ever. A tiny girl in the path of a gravity-guided missile, one minute fully dressed – overly dressed, even, it was the mountains, afterall – the next, shredded, hat and gloves torn off. Skis, poles, goggles yards away. Footwear – plastic skiboots – snatched from her still, baby feet.

The car crash. A hundred guesses. It was horrifyingly raw. Freshly crumpled metal, tears, blood and blank, almost blindingly white confusion. The people stood, not understanding and the empty pair of shoes sat neatly next to to the wreck. An audience quietly, yearningly trundled by on the silent tarmac. A thousand guesses.

The autorickshaw and the mountain track. Perhaps twenty kinks in the potholed road, hugging the dry, rocky, steep valley sides. Winding, suddenly flicking back, moving forwards and back on itself again. A bad road. The tuk-tuk careered into a corner, didn’t brake and flipped. Flew. Lunged, lurched, collided, crunched, rolled, slammed, punched, popped then exploded. Then stopped. And in a sickly silence, dust falling, glass tinkling, three pairs of bare feet, laid naked by the journey. Six lost shoes and one soul, expired.

It may be coincidence. But it seems to me that No Shoes is an eventuality of disaster.

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