There’s something revealing about cast-off shoes. I become conscious, not for the first time, of the array of footwear that litters my floor. I pause to consider the words of past critics, some intent on irritating, some nagging, and some stumbling.
Another selection of boots, tackies, peep toes, flatties, wedges, pumps, courts and sandals patiently reside in my wardrobe. The smell of leather and mould mingles beneath comfort zones. Many pairs have loafed so long that I am surprised they don’t walk out, of their own accord. Those lucky enough to socialise on a regular basis return less and less to their allotted space.
If they could write footnotes, what would they say? Where have they been and what have they heard? Who wouldn’t want to be in them, and who would? Have they walked in peace and shared the Good News, or have they blistered, stomped and stood on somebody else’s toes?
I realise that shedding my shoes at the end of the day is an expression of relief. But it’s more than that. It’s a contented sigh of independence. In kicking them off, my constant supporters are liberated and so am I. I do it because I can, kick them off that is.
But now my conscience irks me. Slippers, shoes and boots silently sock it to me and my rebellion is exposed. I almost miss the nags and the stumbling ones. I am alone with a horde of footless fancies. I long to see my carpet again. Oh, to slip into control and walk unimpeded. I resolve to release leather soles from forgotten corners and send them to some barefooted prisoner of poverty.