One pair of brown patent mock croc kitten heels…

One pair of brown patent mock croc kitten heels…

One pair of brown patent mock croc kitten heels… only slight blast damage, need re-heeling, the brown patent hides the stains, disguises the damage.

If you want to walk a mile in my shoes, try them on for comfort, see how they feel.

They were once a favourite pair of shoes.

One sunny morning I slipped them on, they matched my brown suit perfectly. The brown suit was a favourite then too.

As I ran into the station that morning, my heel caught in the pavement, it stuck a little, maybe if it had stuck a little harder, the heel might have snapped. I would have cursed, the shoes could have been ruined, and I would have had to go home for a different pair. I would have missed my train, I would have been late, thing’s would have been so different, for me at least.

But the heel didn’t snap and I was glad and I made my train.

Less than 4 hours later, I woke on a bus; my shoes were not on my feet anymore. I could feel broken glass beneath my bare feet. The shoes were not far from my feet, as I slipped my feet back into them, I felt more glass. I removed the shoes again, shook the glass from them.  I put them back on. I didn’t feel the glass still in them. I needed to protect my feet from all the broken glass because I needed to run. I have never felt an urge to run like it before. I needed to get away from the devastation I found myself in.

I saw a man jump from what had once been the top deck of the bus I found myself on. Yes, he jumped straight off the side. As I watched him leap, I knew I could not risk cutting my feet. My shoes might fall off. I saw the man’s sensible loafer’s as he jumped. They were brown too.

I didn’t care if I cut my hands, if I leapt I would lean forward, maybe graze or cut my hands and knees, but that would be ok. I would still be able to run. All that mattered was that I could run. A pair of mock croc patent kitten heels may not usually be the best choice of running shoe, but I was grateful I had not chosen the strappy wedge sandals I sometimes wore with my brown suit. The brown suit that was now ripped, and strangely wet and very dirty.

I didn’t have to jump, but I did run, as I did, I realised there was still a large piece of glass inside my shoe. I could feel it pushing into the centre of my foot. I stopped to remove it. I remember the lady with me looking at me as if I was totally mad, that anything would make me stop running. But I knew I would not get much further if I left the glass there where it would keep hurting me.

I did not think I had run very far at all. Months later I would retrace those steps, back to a hotel door way with a mosaic step, where I had crouched unable to hear, trying desperately to call for help on my mobile phone. To call home. I would not remember where the mosaic image came from until that day months later. But once there, I remembered it immediately. A beautiful step, a strange image in my head I hadn’t remembered where it belonged, but it had come to my mind from time to time, with other memories from that day.

The mosaic step was much further down the next street than I remembered. I am not a runner, but I had run, and ran much further than I realised.  My brown patent mock croc kitten heels don’t look like running shoes, but they had served me well when I needed them.

A week or so later the shoes were placed in a brown paper bag with a clear plastic window. They were given a number; the bag had my name on it. I didn’t think I’d see the shoes again. I didn’t really want to. They didn’t matter.

I didn’t think much about the shoes, or any of my other things which had been placed in the brown paper bags and numbered with their evidence tags. Sometime later, I received a call from a female police officer; she wanted to return my things. I did not want them. I told her to destroy them. She said she wanted to return them. I asked her to send them to a family member. She said they had to be returned to me. I had to sign for them; she wanted to bring them personally.

She offered to have them repaired. As if they had never been worn, they could be returned in perfect condition.  As if nothing had happened to them. She told me she thought my suit and shoes were beautiful.

I told her I would never wear them again. I explained I would never feel the same again in those clothes. In those shoes, how could I?  I asked her if she would be able to wear them again if they had been her clothes.  Knowing what had happened the last time I had been dressed in them. The truth was, I will never feel the same again, and it had nothing to do with the shoes. The girl who slipped the shoes on early that morning no longer exists, the girl who had to stop running to take the glass out of her shoe is a very different girl. A girl who knows what it’s like to run for your life.

She explained to me she wanted me to keep something.  If I wouldn’t keep it all, she asked me to keep at least one thing.  She told me it was important, that I consider it at least. They had spoken to the New York Police, psychologists had advised them too; in the long run, it would help if I considered keeping something. Again she told me how much she liked my shoes; maybe I could keep the shoes, even if I would not wear them again. She would come and see me, she would bring everything. I could decide then. Again she offered to have my things repaired, if I wished. They would look brand new, they would be forensically cleaned. They would look like the day I bought them. I said there was no need; they would not be worn again.

When she called, there were two big brown boxes. In the boxes contained the brown paper bags. I think there were 11 in total, all numbered, all signed, all with the same date 7/7/2005. Everything I had needed the day I had gone to London. Laptop bag, handbag, suit, shirt, brown patent mock croc kitten heels, a notebook, and various items – the usual stuff I took with me to work.  All had been replaced with different items soon after they had been damaged. I t would be many years before I bought another brown suit.

One by one, the bags were opened and I was shown the contents, I signed for them, most were then placed back in the brown boxes, after I had been given the opportunity to hold or touch them, if I wanted. It was painful to see them. Damaged goods.  The tip of an iceberg when it came to what had been destroyed that day. The loss or damage of these items was irrelevant. They were replaceable, disposable, un-needed. There only significance the memories they provoked in me. Lives had been damaged, lives had been lost, a hand bag or suit didn’t matter, they never had. I was so grateful the items were being returned to me, and not my next of kin. I thought of the families who didn’t get their son or daughter home, for whom the returned items would be so precious. My handbag was pale in colour, it had a picture of a cat on it, and the cat looked like my cat. The cat was covered in a dark stain. I knew what that stain was, I remembered it and it filled me with sorrow, it looked more disturbing than I had remembered.  Later my partner told me, when he had first seen that stain, as I arrived home in an air ambulance, it had shocked him; it had made him realise what had really happened to me, and to the people I had been with.

Reluctantly, I agreed to keep the shoes. The brown patent mock croc kitten heels. They looked quite scruffy, the end caps on the heels were missing, and they were far more worn and battered than when I had first put them on the last time I had worn them. At first glance they didn’t look too stained, but as I held them and looked at them properly, they were covered in the same substance which had stained my handbag, and everything else.

Since then I have looked at the shoes only once, they have been carefully stored away in a box. I know they are there. I don’t need to put them on to see how they feel.

I did not walk a mile in those shoes, I ran, and I ran for my life.

One pair of brown patent mock croc kitten heels… only slight blast damage, need re-heeling, the brown patent hides the stains, disguises the damage.

If you think you could walk or run a mile in my shoes, try them for size, see how they feel…

Could you run in my heels?

And then keep on walking a new path

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2 responses to “One pair of brown patent mock croc kitten heels…

  1. Beautifully written. Lisa, there are no words to express how your words make me feel. So in a much clumsier fashion I am grateful that you were spared that day. You are an inspiration to us all and I consider myself lucky to count you amongst my friends. Take care sweet girl xxx

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