I Worry For Your Shoes

I followed your footsteps across the sand today. You, the man with the incredibly long toe.

I don’t mean to draw attention to the toe; you might be sensitive about it. After all, it is a very lengthy toe. The big one on your right foot, it is; but then you know that. It’s your toe. There is no way that you could pretend that it is anything other than an extremely elongated digit. A phenomenal phalanx if you will. Which you probably won’t.

The toe trail teased me; I could hardly not follow now, could I? The dogs ran and jumped in the water as I traced your toes along the shore. I stared at the sand and the imprint of your feet. Do you struggle to buy shoes?

Sorry, I won’t ask you that. It’s rude. But really, do you? I bet you’re a sandals man. Flip flops would prove no problem for a man like you. A pincer-like grip I would imagine, with a toe the size of that one.

The sun was sinking and shadows filled the great gravy boat indent that your toe had left behind. You were walking with purpose; I could read that from the sand. Your path was straight and your stride long, and I was taking two steps for every one of yours. Where were you heading? Or did I have that wrong; from whom were you escaping?

I wished I had a camera, so that I could photograph your foot. Or Plaster of Paris, to take a cast. I could send it to a museum so that men with beards and ladies in sensible shoes could peer at it and poke it and taunt each other with theories as to what on Earth – what on Earth! – had left such an imprint. A sasquatch, says one. No such thing, retorts another, and a fist fight erupts. Glasses fly and they stumble around in a myopic haze. Possibly. Probably not. Sorry, I get carried away sometimes.

Sand is freedom for your feet, I imagine. Or freedom from your feet. The opportunity to let your toe go, be free. Not encased in a brogue or a derby, a trainer or a winklepicker. When you are not here, on the sand, I see your toes bound like a geisha’s. Retaining and training and denying your toe its true potential. Out here it is a king. A god. This little piggy went to market and they all bowed down in wonderment.

I wonder if I would know you if I saw you. Would we share a look or a smile, if we passed each other in the street? We have earned that, having spent so much time together; my toes squelching the sand you left behind as you walked.

Your tracks end with the sand at the edge of the beach and I say goodbye. But I will think of you the next time I buy shoes. You, the man with the incredibly long toe.