He had left them there! Right at the entrance of the house (if you called it a house anyway) over the heap of gravel, and I had had it! Sometimes a little thing can act as a last straw and you just marvel at how patiently you had been dealing with the bigger piles of trash all along. I could no longer control the anger that now felt ready to burst through my body. They had been right calling the body a vessel for a vessel does have a fixed volume and if overfilled, it could simply break. Mine was about to.
“I can’t believe you are talking to me like that,”he said in a saddest possible voice. His eyes were bloodshot and I couldn’t help but look at his nails. Chipped, yellow, caked with dirt. Something snapped in me. He was not supposed to look so dejected. Not when it was entirely his own fault. Not when I wasn’t doing anything wrong.
“I am sorry father but I just don’t get it. I am trying to earn us a decent living. We can move up in the society but you just go about mending dead, weather-beaten, filthy shoes. You don’t have to do that anymore!” I tried my best to conceal the anger from my words. I had done a lousy job. He looked more doleful than he had looked before and I realised that I could not go on. Talking to him was futile. He was just going to crush me by looking so wounded. Fortunately, I had saved the vessel from breaking. Yet again.
“Okay but please don’t bring any of those shoes to the house. We don’t need them. I just bought you a good old pair few days back. Why don’t you wear those?”
He shuffled in his chair, ran a hand through his sloppy,sun-burnt hair, and said, “I don’t like the feel of new shoes. I can’t imagine walking about in shoes that don’t pinch you; the shoes that aren’t stitched in all the right places or all the wrong ones; the ones that don’t produce a stridulous noise when you try walking briskly-the shoes that can’t keep you glued to the ground. The ones that you got me didn’t do any of those things. They were too comfortable, son. Too good to be real. Mended shoes never are…”
I sit here and look at my feet now. They look swollen, as if they had been kept in a tight container all day long. The small bones in my feet hurt as well. I don’t know what I am supposed to feel, but I don’t feel really bad about it. Maybe I’ll sleep well today for I feel quite fatigued. I wore my dad’s mended shoes to work today.
(Inspired by a friend’s captured photograph)