This was the sound of summer – the plastic slab slap against the bottoms of bare tender feet. The pull of colorful straps as the shoe rebounded, the new tightness cutting in to the boney sides of her feet. They were always new; it’s how she measured and marked the summer.
It was an announcement, that first trip to stare, neck craned back, at the overwhelming stock of sandals. The variegated soles hung by little white hooks with black numbers etched in the top, announcing size. The wall was a rainbow – blues and greens and reds and whites and yellows and pinks and purples. She had learned to avoid the lighter colors. By the middle of July those pale plastic bottoms would be coated in a foot shaped shadow of dirt that dulled the magic sheen.
Her eyes feasted on the possibilities, and she ran her hand down the racks just to get a taste. The colors spoke to her. All day soccer tournaments. Sun baked lake afternoons. Long drives needing no destination. Lazy lounging in shady patches of hot green grass, clumsy puppies for company. Late, late nights that turned into early mornings. Basketball on cracked, peeling driveways. She always chose two – a daring vibrant color that shouted her existence, like a magenta or electric blue. And a neutral color that went with everything like black or brown, for the days when she wanted to blend in.
If she was successful, by the end of August the bottoms would be smooth, worn down to cradle the shape of her foot. The straps wouldn’t bite at her feet, wouldn’t demand the flip of the shoe back. Yes, if she did summer right, the new sing-song shoes would be faded just enough to require replacement come next May. Next summer when there would be new colors and new adventures.