Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Shoe Bite and Walking Light

Someone stole my walking shoes last week. I am no Imelda Marcos. I owned just one sturdy pair. The Nike pair had supported me all through my arduous journey of knocking off a few pounds. I loved them. They had witnessed my agony and the pain in my calves as I increased my speed and then the distance and then the duration of my brisk walks. They didn't bite me either. They gave me my space. Toe room, to be precise. I was distressed. Who could have stolen a weathered, well-worn pair of shoes, on the eve of the New Year? As far as I knew, it certainly wasn't any of my neighbours. Most of them have fancier pairs. Our building boasts of tight security. So, it couldn't be an outsider. "Was it someone with a fetish for women's shoes?" my wild imagination asked. Whosoever it was, the shoe thief managed to make me more resolute about re-starting my walking regimen, which had been truncated a few months back, because of fresh domestic challenges.
I discovered the theft on December 30. First, I looked frantically for my stolen pair in all the places that I may have left them (I still couldn't come to terms with the fact that someone had stolen my lifeline). Once I was convinced that there had indeed been a thief on the prowl, I sat silently and mourned for my departed pal. The bigger issue was that starting my walking regimen from the first day of the New Year was my topmost resolution and it was broken even before I attempted to honour it. People walk—in chappals, sandals, stilettos, wedges and all types of footwear. They are the brave ones. I need my shoes. For spinal and moral support. I was mortified that I wouldn't find the time to buy a new pair before January 2012 arrived. My worst fears were confirmed, when I reached home from work, way past 9.30 pm. on the 31st. Woe was me! But, I was determined that I would be out at the crack of dawn, 5.30 am to be precise, and walk, come what may. I examined the four pairs of footwear I own. Though they are sensible, functional pairs, they didn't look like they'd last the assault on their being of a 50-minute brisk, purposeful walk. I needed a pair of walking shoes urgently.
As I racked my brain to think of a source, I saw my daughter's er... soiled pair sitting desolately on the shoe shelf. It had obviously not seen the outdoors for a long time. That we wear the same shoe size was a blessing. Never have I exulted at the sight of a pair of shoes, not even at annual sales that sell the best of designer brands for half the price, as I did then.
At the crack of dawn, when the world slept and the rest nursed a hangover, I walked for a good hour in borrowed shoes. It felt awkward at first. As if my feet didn't belong in them. Then, the nip in the air grazed my skin lightly. I shivered a bit but. Fresh air hit my nostrils. It felt good. I had begun the New Year on a rejuvenating note. But, my woes were not over. While the walk revved up my blood circulation and added roses to my cheeks, the shoes were unfriendly. They bit my toes with a vengeance and were decidedly uncooperative, as much as they could be on knowing that a stranger was wearing them. I still have the shoe-bites on my toes but now, I have a bright new pair of Reeboks, in white and lime green.
They are a snug fit. I haven't walked in them yet, but something tells me that they will share my new journey towards fitness. Also, I'm taking no chances with them. They are hidden away in a dark corner of the lowest shelf in the shoe cabinet. Away from prying eyes. I'm sure nobody will make the effort to bend down to fish them out. For now, I'm set. With Bandaid, a soft pair of socks and some grit. I love the lightness of being coming my way.

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