Fashion Stories: Pelican / by Kamie Chang Kahlo


“I dare you!” she coaxed. “Try on the ugliest thing in here.” I perused the Goodwill, and a little something in the corner tucked under a mohair coat caught my eye. It was a single shoe, a lonely vessel waiting for a foot.I t wasn’t supposed to be there; someone had brutally cast it aside.

It was tres revolting, a satin disaster. Candy pink on its heel counter with a black pointy vamp.  It resembled a pelican.  The contrasting laces didn’t help the unsightliness. I peeked inside at the label, “GASP!!”

 “Do you KNOW who this is?!” I whispered the designer in my friend’s ear.
 “Get OUT!!” she screamed, “Let’s find the other one!” Our eyes darted back and forth as I picked up the pelican and we raced across the store to the shoe section. Endless rows of racks of forgotten, abandoned, discarded, distraught shoes called out, “Pick me!”
            "I’m yours,” a stiletto clicked.
            “No, me!” a sporty shoe squeaked.
            “I’m perfect for you,” a kitten heel purred. The pleading was maddening.
            I had to collect myself and focus on the pelican’s twin. Size 6.  Where was the “6” row? Passing the tens and nines I could hear the moaning. The eights were groaning. The sevens whimpered. Finally the sixes looked me in the eye like perfect soldiers, two by two by two… and then I saw a lonely pink and black tragedy, a left one.
            “Are you going to put them on? You have to get them!!”
            “But, they’re so… ugly.” I whispered, shielding the shoes from my harsh words.
            “How cruel,” I thought. Teasing this little misfortunate duo by rubbing my glorious paws against their silky insides; it was too unkind. This petite pair of shoes, it seemed, had never been touched. Could I really torment them?
            I could. I did. “I love!” I said with surprise as I slipped them on. “Huh, sometimes ugly is good,” I said to my friend. And the pelican twins and I lived happily ever after.