I enjoy being alone. In a café, bookstore, shopping place, or even at home. I love walking alone and exploring nooks and crannies in malls without anyone in tow. The more obscure I am and the place, the better. If there were anything this concrete jungle I work and live in could offer, I would be there, but in a dark corner. I do worship my solitude. So much so that at times the presence of other people seem to wind me up and rouse me from my momentary catnap, and I get a little agitated. I have once said that people, regardless of who they are, are easy to love. But I find it more pleasurable to admire them from a distance that I so choose. Sometimes, I watch a bevy of little children play in the sunshine and I feel truly joyful about it. Yet I am not inclined to articulate of such feelings to other people. Except maybe to the anonymous few in this blog. But no, not even here. If I were to be reminded, I have nothing but murky thoughts in this place. It’s a wonder even that some souls still choose to venture here every so often and rally me on to the brighter side. Right you are, I’m such a sucker...
So anyway, I digress again. I will not talk about death today, but a little on shoes. They say that people who get overly indulgent in certain things—say clothes, food, and yes, shoes—are those that have been, at one time or another in their life, deprived of the very same corporeal things. In my experience, I think it’s true. To some degree. Alright, to the nth degree. Owning something you have hoped for and desired for a long time brings a sense of gratification that it cannot be measured by whether you acquired it for a million or a trifling. It doesn’t even matter if it’s useful to you or not, but just hitching your wagon way up there for the longest time, and feeling that you have finally arrived….gosh, it’s giddiness incarnate. Nothing could seem to sever you from your precious object of affection. Not for a moment.
Even when I was a child, I have loved shoes. But it was not very often that I could slip on a good one. I remember that when my mother buys me a new pair, I feel as if everything in the world is pretty and nice-smelling and suddenly not so unattractive anymore. I would grudgingly resign the old pair to the bodega, and welcome the new ones with open arms and a very tender regard, as though I was holding a little baby for the first time. As if that wasn't enough, I would sleep with the shoebox, and peek into it the moment I open my eyes, making sure they were really there and I wasn't just dreaming.
When I walk around, I would often look down, past the faces and shapes of people, to concentrate on their feet. I would survey women and men on how their shoes make or unmake their outfit, and smile with accord if someone looks good from toe to top. Emphasis on the toe. Quite obsessively I make mental observations of women who are considered fashionable because their stilettos or maryjanes or mules or thongs pull together what they are wearing. What other reason can my proclivity for shoes be, the gaping awe I feel when I see them on others, and more notably, on me? But of course, it's fatal attraction.
I have forgotten how many pairs I’ve had since the years I started earning my own keep. At times without really keeping tab on how much it would cost me, a leg or an arm, I would have to have it, right there and then.