My favourite pair of shoes were these black leather T-bars, which I cherished as a 7-year-old. They were a size too small, and the strap kept digging into my ankle, so my toes were permanently folded over while I had them on. This made wearing them very painful, as you would think, but not to me; that pain only came much later, when I took them off. You see, they were my only pair of shoes. Where I come from, we wear slippers, otherwise known as flip flops. We wore these every day, to basically everything, unless it was a formal event, like church, school, or the doctor, and maybe to the city on a special treat, then I got to wear my lovely T-bars. These events at times took hours unfortunately. When I eventually got them off, my feet were sore, and my toes took some time to uncurl, as I had a cramp for the next hour or so just trying to walk properly. When I got time, it was a process. I got everything ready: a rag, some water, the elusive shoe polish, don’t forget the brush, some water, and yes, an old newspaper or torn bit of cardboard to place the shoes on. Then they were given a good clean, carefully wiping off any mud or dust, and finally a good polish until they shone; literally, I had to see my reflection so I could then know it was okay to stop polishing. This left my hands smeared with dark shoe polish, and this too took forever to get off from under my nails. I had them for about a year or so afterwards and don’t quite remember what happened to them; when I was out one day, I just remember coming back and not finding them anywhere; they probably were given to someone else because I was too excited about my new pair of shoes, which at this point were a blessing. I did cherish this pair too, but like the first pair, it was my only one. I learned to look after what I got because I didn’t get very many things. You see, I grew up in a family that didn’t have much money to spend on materialistic things, but I appreciated everything I got. This probably explains the dozens of shoes I have in my possession now. Whether it’s a good thing or a hoarding thing, I don’t know, but all I feel when I look at them is that if the shoe fits, buy it!
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