Footsy

“Your feet are weird,” she said,
Pointing at my gnarled, too-narrow,
too-long, vein-popping pads
that I use to walk all over my small world,
race across ahead of halted traffic,
thump out a tantrum and whip up
a lazy, inadequate pirouette.

And that was the first time, ever,
that I actually looked at my feet,
my poor too-flat, dry, coated with
dust, hard-soled feet, usually
pattering across in the flattest of
chappals, and i felt them blush,
from toe to swollen heel.

I felt them cringe, shrink up inside,
then look at themselves and think,
what’s wrong with me? am i really
that different, for somebody to notice me?
and i felt pity, and covered them up,
encasing them lovingly in Pumas,
Converses, striped multicoloured socks.

In the privacy of my bedroom,
I scrubbed them, creamed
and powdered them, pampered them
as well as I could.
I showered them with the attention of
A nail-filer and a pumice stone,
Scenting them rose and painting their tips
A holiday red. Little by little, they
recovered, and we ventured courageous

Again. They walked in different worlds now,
Encased in shiny heels, clicketty-clacking
on slippery marble in glittering foyers.
It was the mother of all makeovers —
Or so we thought, till she came along
And said: “oh, you weird feet girl,
I was thinking of you during a pedicure.”

This time, I looked down at them,
And they stared right back,
Expressionless. They were still gnarled,
my green, snaky veins still popped.
They still walked a heavy tread. It dawned:
They had never changed, because they
weren’t the ones that really cared.

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