Fixed Price Shoes / Hiromi Suzuki

Trucks leave the confectionery factory and turn right at the intersection of the Tokyo Metropolitan Road Route 420, which was extended a decade ago. Mass produced cookies, chocolate candies, macarons, madeleines and caramel tarts are swinging in the freight containers with sweet whisperings. What he cannot remember are the old wooden houses and small muddy side streets beside the drainage channel. They must have existed near the intersection which was developed ten years ago. Certainly, he felt the smells of daily lives from the back yard of small houses on the narrow alley. Sometimes, his shoes got dirty in the mud of the ditch.

What he remembers is the day when his shoes melted into the rain. 

One Sunday morning, he found a vintage shop selling the fixed price shoes at the flea market. All shoes tagged 500 yen were stacking perfectly on the Turkish kilim. He bought the black Oxfords for wearing on business in rainy days. Seemed to be nice shoes made with shiny leather in spite of the low price. In addition, he could choose his right size.  Next morning, it was a cloudy Monday. He prepared an umbrella and went to work wearing the fixed price shoes. After all, a drizzle became the hard rain. He used his umbrella and walked on the muddy alley. Like the ganache boiling in a pot, watery soil infiltrated into his shoes and scattered outside. When he was about to arrive on the Route 420, he noticed the soles were peeled off his shoes. Two shoe-shaped flat objects were sticking to the bricks. In the next step, leaving the shoelaces, his shoes melted into the rain before he knew it. He tried to rush to go home along the sidewalk of the Tokyo Metropolitan Road. The footprints of his bare toes were left on the concrete pavement. However, the barefooted traces also vanished into the heavy rain.

His wife was sleeping in the family room. The Lost Weekend was being broadcast on TV. It was a scene in which the huge bats attacked Ray Milland. But she was vague, erasing the presence of herself on the couch under the stairs. As she turned to his pitiful bare feet, her hangover face was covered with a pained smile. Then she rolled over, put a blanket on her head, and fell into a dark sleep again. There was an emptied bottle of wine in the kitchen sink.

What he remembers is not an afterimage of his shoes melted into the rain nor her vague smile. The day when the rain swept away all the footprints and footsteps. One rainy day. A dot.

Ten years must have passed during the repetition of ordinary days. Even if he stands at the familiar intersection of the Tokyo Metropolitan Road Route 420 which had been extended without realizing, he cannot remember the city at the end of the road. Even if he looks back his usual scenery, he feels it so far away. As always, mass produced cookies, chocolate candies, macarons, madeleines and caramel tarts are shipped by the trucks from the confectionery factory. As his lunch, he buys a chocolate bar at the concession stand in the factory. He is just eating his daily life, day after day.

hiromi suzuki is a poet, fiction writer and artist living in Tokyo, Japan. She is the author of Ms. cried – 77 poems by hiromi suzuki (Kisaragi Publishing, 2013), logbook (Hesterglock Press, 2018), INVISIBLE SCENERY (Low Frequency Press, 2018), Andante (AngelHousePress, 2019). Her works have been published internationally in poetry journals, literary journals and anthologies.
Web site:
Twitter : @HRMsuzuki

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