The Unpaired Stories

Read the latest story: Boy’s White, Blue and Gray Sock. East Third Street. It Touched Off a Spark.

A dropped glove, a misplaced sock, a discarded shoe and other, stranger unpaired objects inspire these stories of the lost and found, the forgotten and remembered, the separated and united. The pictures appear below in the order the stories were published. You can also read the latest weekly story, see pictures for upcoming stories, find the pictures and stories on a map and learn more about this project. If you would like to receive an email when a new story is published, please fill out this form.

All the stories in order


About unpaired

My name is David Harlan. I’m a writer and photographer (among other pursuits) who lives in Moscow, Idaho. I’ve been walking the sidewalks of Moscow for the past 11 years. I walk a lot – more than 20,000 miles since I started using a tracker in 2012.

In all those miles, I see things. Many mundane things. Many lovely things. Many strange things. I see my neighbors and their pets. I see nature at her most boring and her most extreme. I have seen crimes and car accidents and altercations. I once saw a large wad of cash fall out of a man’s pocket 100 yards ahead of me. I picked it up and ran up to him. I saw suspicion in his eyes as I handed the roll – certainly more than $1000 – back to him.

Blue knit glove. North Hayes Street. What’s its story?

And now, suddenly,  I am coming across many – many – “unpaired” things.

In the fall of 2017, I started to see – or more accurately I began to notice – single gloves abandoned on the path of my walks. One item, a child’s blue knit glove, was a constant companion. I would walk by it on North Hayes Street many times a day and I began to wonder about it. And as that wonder took hold, I realized that I was seeing other unpaired items and I started taking pictures. And THEN single socks began to appear. And then a shoe or two. More pictures. And then I started to notice and photograph even more esoteric unpaired items .

As the pictures of lonely items accumulated, I continued to wonder about the stories  behind those unpairings. And since I am unlikely to know the real stories behind any of these items. I decided to make the stories up.

The stories will be fiction, but each of these pictures is truly “found”. I didn’t manipulate anything. I saw each item as I walked past it. I took the picture.

So, the title of each story will be comprised of three facts. The the first two, a description of the item and its location, will be true. The third fact – whatever that may be – will be the beginning of the fiction.

Oh, and this: the places are real but used fictionally, and everything else is pure fiction. As they say in the movies, any similarities to persons living or dead is coincidental.

Enjoy. Share with your friends if you want. And let me know what you think.