The misty haze of the day brought out the dull shade of purple that lurked on the inside edge of the rubber. Eli reached down and scratched at the faded marking. It almost disappeared into the worn sneaker sole, but remnants of what had been in the not-so-distant past floated up to greet him as he contemplated the puddle underneath the park bench that his feet dangled in. His reflection danced beneath him, and Eli wondered how his face had managed to become so gaunt, his expression so empty. With a quick jerk, he jabbed his left toe into the offending water and watched his mirrored self distort with an odd surge of – what was it? Joy? No, it was more like sick pleasure: just enough to ease the disturbance he had felt at realizing who he had become since that dark day months ago.
Pulling his left leg up and resting it on his other knee, he remembered the flash of purple and stopped to examine it. Squinting in the poor early morning light, he struggled to make out the letters, pretending that he didn’t know exactly what the message said. Truthfully, he had forgotten that the inscription was there. Because he wore the grey sneakers so often, he failed to notice any distinct attributes about them on a regular basis. But the rain so often brings secrets to light as it washes away the old and gives life to dying things. One by one, Eli deciphered the letters of her name, then a heart, and finally, his own name. It had been doodled there, on the thick rubber that curved to trace the inside of his foot, in the middle of a fit laughter as they lay together on the grass in that same park a summer ago. She was gone now, having walked off with his heart in her hand, and Eli realized that soon the ink would fade in the same way that she had, but that was okay.