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The long road to new shoes.

It's safe to say that many aspies get overly attached to certain items of clothing. They may not be beautiful shimmering garlands of fancy, but those favourite clothes will be worn and better worn until they fall to pieces or are stolen by well-meaning do-gooders who want to deny you any happiness whatsoever.

And then, damn it, you have to go shopping for new ones. Do these people have no souls?

As it turned out, I was one of these soulless demons when RT Teen's shoes breathed their last.

They've been sporting a hole for about six months. I lose track, it might have been nine months. I know that RT has been wary of puddles for quite a while and ran when it rained.

They lifted at the front in that peculiar way old shoes have where they start to look like they might sit and beg as you walk past. Also, they had A Smell lingering about them. You know what I mean.

They changed colour after the first few months of life and became a nondescript browny-grey beloved of elderly footwear everywhere.

Then the hole grew.

It grew to the point that the holey shoe looked like a Disney shoe that might, at any moment, start to sing about life on the road and the dream of finding a glass slipper. But even this did not persuade RT it was time to go shopping.

Things came to a head when he had to wear only one sock because wearing the sock somehow made his toes pop out through the hole in his shoe. (Perhaps they clung inside it, like Fay Wray clinging to King Kong and the sock made them lose their grip?).

I hurried RT into town before he decided his shoes were fine (again) and we arrived at our destination, hope in hand and in one piece.

Except it had been a cold day and RT said his ears were cold and they were too cold and did I not know how cold his ears were and they were actually so cold they were hurting!

I waited a couple of minutes while RT stood, a picture of despair in the middle of the shoe shop with his hands clapped over his ears, staring glumly at the floor.

Once his ears had let up with their whining, we started to look at shoes. At this point, the same as happens every time we come shopping, RT decided his feet were a size smaller than they really are. No, I have no idea why this happens, it just does. It doesn't matter that he has been the same (larger) size for the last few years - once at the shop, he has shrunk.

He tried on the first pair and they were okay, even though a size too small. Just like when he was little, I sent him for a walk around the shop. He took two steps - literally - then came back. They were still fine. I sent him away again and he took a longer walk, this time coming back limping as the shoes were strangely tight.

Having realised that his feet were bigger than he expected, we chose another pair which turned out to be fine, except they rose up on the heel and threatened to rub.

The next pair looked really nice and were fi - oh no, hang on, that one was tight so they were a no-go too but he would keep hold of them in case he didn't find anything else and they felt better later.

I should add that RT has a very particular taste in shoes. They have to look a certain way, be a certain type, usually be a certain, very limited, range of colours. We were fast losing choice.

Another pair presented and he liked them a bit, they were okay, they didn't look as nice as the others and he didn't like them as much but they were supremely comfortable. He begrudgingly took the shoe-shop-walk and discovered the rotten things were still supremely comfortable, even though they didn't look any nicer.

We chose those, in kind of a hurry, in desperation if I'm honest, as I was very, very afraid of going home with the same old holey shoes sitting forlornly on the floor next to the foot mirror.

RT put the old shoes back on to walk home in and we bought the new ones. Flushed with the kind of success not valued by ordinary shoppers we left the shoe shop and rejoined the throng. At this point, having refused to wear the new ones home, RT changed his mind and balanced on one foot and then the other outside the shoe shop window, his long hair swaying from side to side as he hopped to get into the shoes and then wobbled down to fasten them shut.

'I don't know why people keep looking at me,' he said, grumpily. 'Haven't they seen anyone putting on shoes before?'

'Possibly not,' I answered, then I pointed at the old shoes now in the glossy new bag. 'Are you going to put those in the bin on the way past?' I asked.

His face fell in shock, then he coloured up a little and answered  sheepishly, 'Maybe not right, right this minute.' He brightened as a solution presented itself. 'Maybe tomorrow,' he said and happily swung the bag as we walked away from the shop.

Readers, would it surprise you to know that the old shoes are now in the kitchen, keeping the cats company at night and keeping me on my toes during the day? They are closer to the back door (and the bin) than they ever were before, but these things take time. And a little bit of patience. And perhaps a few weeks of new shoes being worn in before the old ones are really ready to go.

I just hope it doesn't turn out like the pair he loved when he was six: those ones stuck around so long that they were 'accidentally' left in the car we sent to be crushed. I still feel guilty about those, and RT still hasn't forgotten them...

Sooner or later, all old shoes need to be replaced. And when that happens we all suffer, for life is full of horrors and some of them are small and come in pairs.


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