a brief history of shoes

Found as I dug through the detritus at the bottom of my wardrobe today:

  • black women’s oxfords, worn so often the soles flap and the insides look strangely rotten
  • brown women’s oxfords, still good
  • one (1) plain black pump, origin unknown, partner unaccounted for
  • a pair of roll-up plastic pumps I had in my handbag when I took a friend to a fetish club for her twenty-first birthday and abandoned her to fuck strangers all night; ruined stumbling down the London pavements on the way home
  • maroon with a high wedge heel, barely worn, somehow wrong-looking to my eyes
  • not so much ‘boots’ as ‘a confection of straps and buckles with a very high heel’, objectively absurd, dearly loved, purchased about the same time I got my eyebrow pierced, a relic of a very different self
  • white leather heels with golden studs and a six-inch heel, shoes to step on a man with; I remember the man at the time was boringly uncooperative
  • black wooden zori with heavy red silk thongs, bought by my grandmother in 1956 when she moved to Japan to be with her new husband. there is a silk kimono that goes with these. she never learned the language, but her children spoke it before they spoke English.
  • knitted christmas slippers with holes in the heels
  • giant shiny gold clompy tacky and hideous party shoes, gold rubbing off them now
  • smart black court shoes, worn at graduation, heels murdered beyond repair by mud and cobblestones
  • little blue silk kitten heels I bought when I was eighteen that only make me remember how insecure I felt and how I thought I needed them
  • my cool twenty-something hipster boots, tan leather and laces, worn so often they fell to bits
  • a pair of shoes with maps of the world printed on them in autumn colours
  • pale peach pumps, two pairs
  • black trainers given to me by my grandfather’s cousin’s daughter-in-law’s husband during three days I stayed in California with them for reasons never adequately explained to anyone, especially not their dog, who hated me
  • red shoes I bought myself at a time when I mostly thought about whether it would be too much work to kill myself and if anyone would really mind; pretty shoes, with a low heel and an open toe, all scarlet leather; shoes that say remember you love to dance