In the Other People's Shoes Shop


The shop assistant offers me a choice:  Owain Glyndwr’s size 11 boots, a pair of Lloyd George’s brogues size 8, and Dewi Sant’s sandals, size 13. 


I give it a moment’s thought.  If I wear Owain’s boots, I might sense what happened to him in the end, so I’ll pass.  I can’t face knowing his ending was grim.  As for Lloyd George’s brogues, I’ll  wonder who’s bed he left them under.  I’ll pass on that one too.  Dewi Sant’s sandals could well induce another one of my rabbit hole examinations of faith.  So nope to all.


Having drawn a blank, she offers me Dylan Thomas’s size 10 slippers, Gwen John’s size 5 wellingtons, and Shirley Bassey’s size 3 school daps.  


I’m going off the idea now.  Beer-stained slippers, even if worn by the great DT, hold little appeal.  They may even have  a lingering whiff of whiskey and pee.  Yuk.  What would I get out of Gwen John’s wellingtons?  I would like to think it’s a lasting memory of her garden.  But I bet it will be a mouldering resentment of her brother.  As for Shirley Bassey’s dapps, she might well be keen  to have them back.


'Do you have footwear from the ordinary people of Wales?'  I ask. 'No,celebs or political figures?  Just people?'


‘Ah’ she says and in that ‘ah’ is a sad resignation to ‘my type’….the avowedly unimpressed with status. She sighs and asks: ‘Where is your family from?’ 


‘Varteg’, I reply.  She disappears and I hear boxes being shuffled and shifted. 


She barks from the storeroom ‘I’ve got a pair of button boots size 6 here…it says Mary Ann  Tudgay, nee Hawkins, on the box.’.


‘I’ll take them’, I yell back and walk out in my Aunty Nan’s boots.  Each step a familiar one,  full of love and  life’s lessons.

© Gaynor Kavanagh