Where Should I Belong?
If there is anything that I am good at, surely it will be waiting.
It had been two weeks since I left that dark and cramped box and lived here. My spirits brightened upon sitting on the “new arrival” section. However as time passed by, new generation replaced me and my friends and we were moved to another shelf. I spent my mundane life here, on this display shelf, watching countless people passing by and sometimes they would glanced inside the store scanning every one of us. Together with other Espadrilles, (well, at least that was what a sales girl called us) this store purposely displayed us on a lower wooden shelves. Perhaps they meant not to offend the high heels which were placed on the top shiny glass rack.
The high heels had been blabbering about their status way before I joined the others in store and never failed not to hide their discontentment towards us. Indeed, compared to us, they were sexy, sophisticated and meticulously made. However, they were quite rowdy and very generous to spill unpleasant words to others.
One day, a bright pink stiletto suddenly expressed this, “Hey, peasant! Does nobody want to buy you?! You keep getting on my nerves with your look.”
“You are the one to talk, but at least we are more novel than you, not made during spring season two years ago. Plus, we do not depend on discount and make our price cheaper in order to be sold,” the statement from a black glittery Espadrilles next to me received a loud applause from surrounding shoes. Even the reserved and peaceful comfort shoes chuckled. As a listener, I was thrilled to hear that since most of us usually were silent whenever they mocked us. But I also wished that either one kind of us would be sent away from this store and end this whole dispute once for all.
The innocuous clock chimed eleven time and people started to fill this store. Automatically after the last bell, the high heels started their habitual morning, yet not so melodious singing routine. Customers in their early thirty crowded around the high heels, and young one gaze at me, scrutinizing for any defect. I was overjoyed to be in the spotlight and started to imagine to become precious possession for them. Sometimes, I found myself to be lost inside their flatteries. However, soon, when they put me back on shelf and proceeded to exit the store or bought other shoes, there was often a silence to my soul. I was imprisoned here like the fall leaves under frost. I wish spring in my world would arrive soon. I wish they would carry me along with them. “Somebody, please take me,” my inner voice beseeched the void.
I remembered that day. I was watching my day passed by and sighed when the flocking customers started to throw excuses for their flight. In the stillness of the store, the door creaked open and a well-built young man entered. He had calm footsteps, wearing a pair of shoes that thudded starkly against the polished tile floor. His eyes wandered around the store, giving a calm gaze at each one of us. He did not glance at the high heels although they started to sing and flirted to attract his attention. I was nervous when the young man did not take his eyes off me. He picked me and uttered few words to a nearby sales girl, “can I have this design with size five?”
The sales girl smiled and disappeared behind a door but then returned with solemn expression, “I am sorry Sir. The only size five available I am afraid is in your hand.”
“Oh, I don’t mind. I will take this design and umm, can you wrap it up together with a ribbon on it?” “Sure, I am glad to be of help,” the store owner who was behind the counter suddenly replied.
I could heard faintly the high heels shouted from afar, “I guess he also has peasant’s taste.” The high heels cackled with laughter while the store owner put me in a box and sealed with ribbon but I did not feel dejected at all. There was only one thing I had in mind, “So, the reason why no human bought me is because I live on that shelf?” I felt sober and also silly for being miserable all this time. I thought I was not attractive.
From inside the box, I could hear the blaring music from digital players mixing with car’s engine that revved occasionally. Truthfully, I fell asleep in that pitch-black box and later was woken up by bright light when the young man opened the box. He took me out and I noticed the crow feet that appeared whenever he smiled. However, I could not be more captivated by my surrounding with majestic trees towering in line by line, squirrels running mischievously in distant and butterflies fluttering around. The enchanted park spread earthly air.
A glamorous young lady soon came wearing disgruntled face. She stomped across the park and when she was about to arrive in few feets, she stopped and just glared at the young man. Her face reddened and I thought that it would blow up when she shouted at him, expressing her dissatisfaction about their meeting place. “Why in the hell you want to meet here? You know that Malaysia is hot right?”
The young man who just realized the arrival of his companion, hastily put me in the box and called out her name, “Anisa! I have present…” “It is my birthday today and you asked me to meet in park?!” She cut off his speech with her yelling. From inside the box, I felt a quake and I could sense that the young man must be shocked with her manner of speech.
“Yeah, I know, but before we go somewhere else, here, I got you a present. Hope you like it,” the young man sounded weak and apologetic.
He displayed me before her. I saw her expressive eyes with green coloured lids quickly turned cold. The thoughts that I would soon belonged to her gave me shiver. She groaned, “what an ugly shoes. You call this a birthday gift?!”
“But you said that your feet always feel sore, right?”
“No, this is not me, I can’t wear that. Nobody in the right mind wants to wear that junk. That shoes are not even compatible with my outfits. Perhaps a beggar will love it.”
“Excuse me?” The young man’s face tightened.
“What’s with that face? You realized these are all your faults right? All of my friend’s boyfriends would take them to cafe, throw surprise party and give them bracelets, teddy bear, necklace, new Iphone or at least treat them a dessert. But you plan to celebrate my birthday here and give me that shoes?”
The young man was silent and just looked at me the entire time.
Anisa continued,“That’s it, I give up. The truth is I never loved you, Amin. I thought you were cute but that’s all you got. You are clueless, you are clumsy, oh god, loosen up those two buttons on your shirt will you? Fold your sleeves too! Are you a nerd?”
Amin put me down and folded his sleeves before he opened the two top button of his shirt. I was so shocked to hear their conversation. I never expected this kind of welcoming ceremony.
In the end, Anisa left Amin. Amin pleaded her to forgive his mistakes but Anisa just brushed him off. As she walk on with high heels on grassy field, suddenly one of her pointy heels sunk on the ground and she fell.
But the young man was too preoccupied with his sorrow to notice the fall. I was sure if he saw her, he would rushed to aid her, but I was glad that he did not see it. She deserved the fall, I guessed, after she was so insistent to keep her high heels. Insistent to keep her pride that was stored in those pointy heels. The same heels that dragged her down to earth.
With his arms, he hold me tight against his chest and wept alone in that park. It was irony. I thought that it was truly an irony. Buying shoes for someone and now that person walked out from his life. And I was the exact shoes that potentially could have the ability to drive people away. I really could not tell if it was my fault or not. I wish I have a mouth to tell him and soothe him, but I was afraid I would risk my soles to be detached from my body.
The young man brought me to his house, took me out from the box and put me on his shoe rack. The other shoes beamed with delight as soon as they saw me but they welcomed me with questions. A leather shoe with two side panels laced together started asked me, “Aren’t you the shoes from the store and the one that warded the girlfriend away?”
“How did you know?” I responded.
“I was there with him too, he wore me, if you noticed. Well, forget that. I’m curious actually, what kind of shoes are you?”
“Most people called me Espadrilles. His ex-girlfriend called me beggar shoes,” I began to feel glum whenever I recalled the way she described my appearance. Was it really my fault that Amin’s girlfriend left him? “Do you often meet his girlfriend?” I asked the leather shoes.
He replied,”Yes, we had met for a few times. But he rarely wear me to go to his dates.” Another shoes replied, “I have never seen her girlfriend.” When I asked him why, he exhaled heavily and answered, “take a look at myself. I am dirty, I am worn out. No man wear me to a date to impress his partner.”
Reflecting on my situation without an owner, I consoled him, “you are worn out because you have been useful and have served your own owner. You should be grateful.”
“Thank you very much. Ah, now I feel better! If you want to know who often went together with him in dates, why don’t you ask that good-looking loafer over there?”
I repeated my earlier question and further inquire if she was often behaving like I observed in park, to which he replied, “yes, he regularly wear me on dates. His girlfriend asked him to do so. Of course, she usually behave like that. But I mostly remember meeting her collection of shoes. Hmmm..”
“Why,” I was curious.
“Her shoes always look down on me.”
I argued, “but you are made of leather. You’re from high-end store, why would they looked down on you. It makes no sense. Are they always full of pride?”
He answered, “No silly, they are mostly platform and heels, with height more than four inch, I am just 1.5 inch high.”
“You use that phrase again?” The dirty shoes questioned the loafer and the leather shoes just giggled along with me.
The young man came and pick up the smelly shoes. The dirty shoes delighted, “I am going to get a bath.” The dirty shoes swung in his grip. It yelled as it went away, “Don’t worry espadrilles, don’t you worry about never being worn! His sister loves espadrilles!”
I was exhilarated.
After I had served my owner dutifully, my conditioned got worse day by day. My skin became pale and dust grew on me. One day, while my owner was cleaning around, she picked me up together with other shoes. However my soles were detached from my body and the stitches loosened. I was ready. This was what my fate looked like anyway; a fate that belong in servitude.