I love my feet. They are calloused and cracked and feel a lot like my living room wall. They are made of chipped nails and bloated sausage toes that refuse to hold the pristine polish that I spend hours giving them. Their soles are permanently painted black from the late night walks on hot pavement, and the many morning runs in worn down shoes during that age where I refused to wear socks. Every crease and every scar tells a different story, they tell of my determination and the pain that I have somehow always overcome. They remind me of the tears and the sunburn, and when I cried after placing last in that Cross Country meet. They keep with them every misstep in a tap routine, and have never forgotten the army of splinters ready to attack on the left corner of the porch. They mourn the slugs that I constantly step on, and beg me not to follow him out to his car without shoes on when the road is burning, but I never listen. They loathe me for my clumsiness when I fall down stairs and curse me when I get too excited and stub their tender heads on my nightstand. They call out to me in pain and leave me with bruises, but in the end they always forgive me and are there in all of my happiest moments. My toes curl when my dog’s nose tickles my own, and when my side is pinched in that one spot. Those round and bulbous toes automatically spread out to keep my grip in my flip flops when I race my best friend in the summer rain. They slip willingly into rented bowling shoes, and grow stronger with each sand spur that I step on when perfecting my cart wheels. They love the feeling of the uneven sand beneath their soles and rushing ocean against their heels, but never hesitate to send me running out of the water when a stray strand of seaweed brushes by their too-sensitive sides. People gawk and ask how I can be proud of such dirty, petulant feet, but I just smile and continue to love them because they are a part of me, and they tell my story with greater detail than I could ever embellish it with. One day someone will walk to me on their own feet, someone who loves the blisters on my toes, who understands the words the scabs spell out. They will remember the day when they saw my cracked feet and will proudly show me their own memory book, written along the edges of their toes and freckled heels. They will point to each spot and tell me how they were tortured by their brother when they were eight or where they fell at the mall the day before. I will listen and laugh, and be so profoundly stunned, that two pairs of feet, could somehow bring two people together so close that they could never be apart again.
March 2, 2011