If shoes could speak!

Mine did, just now!

“What’s happening?” asked my dusty brown pair of shoes, now looking almost black after being unused for the last eight months or so. “We used to be your source of pride! You even got a family member to bring special polish from New York for us to retain the exact shade, and now your brush hasn’t touched us for months, nor your feet?”

“I’m sorry!” I said.

“Is there another shoe in your life?” they asked menacingly. “Some other, younger pair, your flirty feet have beguiled to weave round themselves?”

“No!” I said quickly, “You both are still my true loves! It’s just that with this pandemic, I don’t need shoes… I hardly go out!”

My shoes accepted what I’d said, and went back to their Rip Van Winkle sleep, when suddenly they were rudely awakened as with spit and polish I decided to make them shine again.

“Why?” they asked, surprised, as their old leather absorbed polish into their wrinkles, and as the brush made them shine again. “Why this sudden outpouring of love?”

“Because,” I said, “I’m remembering the many places we’ve been together. Visiting that old aunt who was dying in the hospital…”

“You came out quite tearful, you know.”

“I wept with her inside, but they said she smiled a smile of joy before she passed on. Then I remember putting you on, and going to that rally in support of those who were unjustly jailed.”

“Don’t tell us about that!” squealed the pair. “We were nearly crushed by other rotten soles, and these bruises came from that day.”

“I’m proud of those wounds!” I said, as I touched the creases across their broken leather.

I finished the polishing and looked at them; they were suddenly not insignificant anymore. They told me a tale; whether I’d used my life well before this. I did give them a glance guiltily.

“Yeah, we know what you’re thinking!” they said, “About the time you walked home zigzagging your way up the steps because you had one too many!”

“Ssshhhh!” I said.

And then it was I saw an old pair lying next to my now gleaming ones. They had belonged to my late father and on one shoe was a streak of paint. He had been an artist in New York, and I kept his shoes to remind me that he’d worked to the very end. They now had a silent message for me: “Never hang up your boots, Bob!”

I look up from my laptop at you, who maybe like me, haven’t worn your fancy pairs for some time now. But what tale do they tell, and what meaningful story will you carve with them, when you get back on your un-lockdown booted feet? Like, my dad’s, will yours give a message that will spur others on?

Robert Clements
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Robert Clements

Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist with an estimated readership of 6 million. He also conducts a short-term writer’s course. Contact him on bobsbanter@gmail.com for more details.