Vincent van Gogh’s “A Pair of Shoes”:

It was mid-September in 1882. I had lodged in Drenthe, Netherlands. This area was to be my home for the next six months. I found little motivation now-a-days. The only thing that kept me going was the paintbrush in my hand, and the inspiration I found in the landscape. I could no longer count on any friends or family members. It was just me, my imagination, and my painting utensils.

Despite my unfortunate events, while visiting the nearby village, I often saw young children ages three to nine savaging the around — no parents were in sight. There was one boy that stood out to me. He was around the age of eight. To this day, I am not sure what it was about him that drew my eyes in his direction out of the entire crowd. Maybe it was the way his hair glowed red in the morning sun. Or the fact that he was separated from the group of children his age. Maybe it was simply because he was the only one sitting. Whatever characteristic of his lead my eyes in his direction, I still remember the scene as if it happened last night. More than anything, I remember the worn out brown boots. They were roughly twice the size of his own feet. As opposed to the other filthy children, none of their shoes could compare. His reminded me of the ones my dad used to wear when he went hunting. There was no hesitation to assume they were not his own. I guessed he didn’t have one pair that belonged to him.

As my painting career continued to downfall, I still looked for inspiration among the mountains and in nature. Every morning at precisely eight I headed to the village hoping to find this inspiration. Every morning, as well, I spotted the little boy in the same position and seat that I originally saw him. I never worked up the courage to go talk to him — ask him how he was doing, where his family was. I regret not doing that. Considering my unfortunate life — expelled by my own family — I can’t even imagine how lonely he felt.

One day, though, he was not sitting in his usual spot. This was weird, indeed, since he had never failed to leave his seat that early in the morning during the six months I lived there. Before I was aware of my actions, I went looking for him. I went up and down the village, and discovered places I never even knew existed. It was about an hour I spent searching for him when, all of a sudden, I landed flat on my face. As I searched for the object that caused me to fall, I saw them. The shoes. The brown, worn out, humongous boots. They were his I was certain. As of himself, I never found nor did I ever discover what happened to him.


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