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A Parade of Shoes

No Longer Invisible!

By Angie the Archivist 📚🪶Published 2 months ago 2 min read
Top Story - February 2024
30
A Parade of Shoes
Photo by Apostolos Vamvouras on Unsplash

Shoes! So many shoes! Worn, black running shoes bounding past; shiny, red stilettos tap, tap tapping on by; white slides gliding along; steel toe caps clomping back in the opposite direction. Numbly I gaze at my feet… hunched over, my head a leaden kettlebell propped between my clammy hands… elbows resting on skinny knees.

A kaleidoscope of colours parade past, before my downcast eyes.

“Are you okay young fella?”

I blink. Focus reluctantly returns. I blink again. Gnarled feet clad in open sandals are planted firmly in front of me. Silence.

My mind wanders… It’s been two long years since anyone thought I was young for a fifty-year-old. Back then… back when I was married! When I had a life; a family; a home; a job… even a car!

Now… now I have nothing… I am no one. I’m washed up on life’s desolate shore.

“I asked, ‘Are you okay?’”

Surprise washes over me. She can’t be talking to me! I’m invisible. Nobody sees me anymore. Time stretches across several heartbeats. Those sandals sure don’t seem to be going anywhere. Exerting a massive effort, I inch my head and eyes upwards.

There stands a petite granny… wearing a concerned frown, enveloped in a silvery halo of fluffy hair. I stare mutely. She contemplates me patiently, as if time is of no consequence.

My disused voice is barely a croak. I cough.

“Yeah,” I mumble.

“I’ve heard some rubbish in my time and that sure is rubbish!” she fires straight back at me, with dizzying speed. My head spins… thought takes flight.

Unable to fend off such genuine concern, she completely disarms me. ‘Granny’ eases down onto the shopping centre bench, next to me. I’m vaguely surprised to find I feel neither threatened nor judged. It’s been an eternity since anyone has seen me, let alone spoken to me. Unbidden, forgotten tears spring to my eyes.

Her kindly face, gentle tone and searching eyes are my undoing. Somehow, this pint-sized granny has slipped behind my defences.

Before I realise it… I’m no longer even sure how… I find myself timidly following her into a large hall full of people, gathered around a veritable feast. Happy faces; laughing voices; scrumptious aromas wafting around me. My angelic acquaintance eases me towards the group gathered around the table… smiling reassuringly.

Utter disbelief floods my being! Why would strangers care; help or bother?

My heart flutters… beating more rapidly now… hope balloons within me. Sure, it’s just one meal and a night off the frigid, dank streets… the promise of a miniscule measure of security.

My worn, grubby shoes shuffle forwards… towards the table and welcoming people… towards a brighter future. The next chapter of my life.

******************

Inspired by a Talk-Back chat on commercial radio, as I travelled to work. A man told a similar story, where an elderly lady took him along to a winter shelter run by the charity group, Lifeline in conjunction with local churches. Each church hosts homeless folks one night weekly, to keep them off the streets. Support workers assist with reconnecting them with life and society.

This one encounter transformed this man’s life. It brought tears to my eyes.

friendshiphumanityfamilyfact or fiction
30

About the Creator

Angie the Archivist 📚🪶

Addicted to reading… especially fiction and recently poetry.

Personality of a Labrador.

Attention span of a gnat! 🙃

A Parade Of Shoes: Top Story March 2024

"Look Out... Sauerkraut!": Top Story December 2023

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  2. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (18)

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  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Andrea Corwin 2 months ago

    Congrats and thanks for sharing this outlook.

  • Clyde E. Dawkins2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!!!

  • LASZLO SLEZAK2 months ago

    Well done!

  • What a wonderful and endearing piece! It's quite touching how you were able to depict the protagonist's hardships and the grandmother's unanticipated generosity.

  • Marie Wilson2 months ago

    Love this story and even more so since it's based on real life circumstance as heard on the radio! Good job!

  • Donna Fox (HKB)2 months ago

    Angie this is so beautiful!! I adore this so much!! Great piece and congrats on Top Story!!

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Beautiful Angie!!! Very well written!!!

  • Bonnie Bowerman2 months ago

    So very well done! Loved it! Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Gabriel Huizenga2 months ago

    This is INCREDIBLE- love the shift from shoes-only people to the wonderfully detailed character sketch of the 'granny.' A really compelling and so thoughtfully crafted piece, thank you for sharing! And congrats on the Top Story! :)

  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    Such a beautiful story. Congrats on the TS.

  • Rachel Deeming2 months ago

    Ah, Angie! This is bloody great! Love it!

  • Kendall Defoe 2 months ago

    Thank you for sharing this!

  • Awww, this was so touching and heartwarming! Thank you SO much for sharing this story!

  • D.K. Shepard2 months ago

    Absolutely beautiful! This really made an impression. The start with the shoe particulars really was a perfect opener to convey his feeling of being invisible.

  • Andy Potts2 months ago

    Powerful stuff. Well done!

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