Footsteps and the Things We Used to do Together

The ground was frozen and it splintered like shards of glass when the log fell upon it. The log, itself frozen, was on its second fall in as many heartbeats. It had rebounded nicely off the side of my foot, followed its shot, and turned a 360 before landing with a loud “thud” across the aforementioned frozen ground that serves as my carport. On the weekends kids skate free.

My hands were full of other frozen logs that had shown the common courtesy to stack nicely within my cold, layered arms. Some wood is born unruly. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about.

I could feel my foot bleeding through my shoe. My very thick, very favorite shoe. I have another one just like it. However, the other one was standing firm against slippage and the subsequent ridicule that such occasions call for. One shoe stood tall and the other sacrificed all. It was a wash. With blood. My foot was bleeding and to put it in medical terms that you may be familiar with, it fucking hurt.

I was probably going to lose it.

But my family was cold and I’d left my beer inside and a whole list of other things that surely sound like reasonable excuses, so I made my way back into the house. A slip. A slide. A slip. A slide. One foot carrying the weight of the other. Medals for such things would be unavoidable.

When the healing began it was mostly due to the bubbles of peroxide and champagne. The bandage was purely cosmetic. The scab was long and thin, like fresh marker lines upon a barefoot drunk. Suddenly one foot had a mustache, and that, I believe, is where the jealousy began.

It used to be that my feet went everywhere together. They were always a step away from the other. They ran together, danced together — hell, they even dressed alike. Theirs was full of codependency and function.

Then came the scar and suddenly my left foot was out chatting up heels while my right sat home watching Daniel Day Lewis movies. The shoes, wisely, chose to stay out of it, but the legs seemed split on the matter. The whole thing just cracked my ass up.

My body was no longer a wonderland. It was a battlefield.

Last night the fire was waning low and I went out for more wood. My left foot was there, standing where shattered wood had met splintered ground, and my whole world had begun to melt without me.

My right foot said nothing. I stood there and gathered the wood. Carefully. The silence was awkward and the tension was thick. We walked back to the house together. Slowly.

They remained a foot apart.

Against the brightness of the rebuilt fire I could see that the scar was shrinking. It no longer resembled Boston Blackie. It looked more like Charlie Chaplin or an Obama poster. Or Hitler’s foot.

I fell asleep shortly after that and I didn’t wake till morning, despite the sound of distant dogs barking.

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