Saturday 22 June 2013

'flip-flop blues' by James H Terrall

I have never worn flip flops in my life but I just got these swanky flat crocodile-shaped, slip on slip off, holes-everywhere, paid-too-much-for, rubbery things – they’re what they all wear around here. And guess what? They go flip flop, flip flop ... which drives me mad. It sounds like the footfall of a fool I used to know; a fool I used to call a friend.

Time flips, people flip, waistlines flop but this relationship eventually stopped. It took a bit of to and fro and push and pull for it to stop, but stop it did, and now my new flippy-floppy shoes flap, flap, flap in a very annoying rhythm; each slapped return against a heel reminds me of Bill.

My new footwear irritates me via the percussive beat that my feet make against these moulded inner soles. I cannot control this sound – even though he’s not around, it is a reminder, a little tick of an offset clock that doesn’t tock in time. This memory is mine, an association with sound that disturbs and perturbs me. I hear him in these new water-resistant, slip-on, slide-off, environmentally-friendly recycled things that fit around my feet. I can’t take a step without thinking about the pain in the neck that is Bill. I hear this hushed clip clop, as my own footsteps drop, and I want to take them off.

I can hear him cough up phlegm into a coffee cup and flip flop off. The cup sits silent on the breakfast table while he shaves and showers then casually flip flops back with an added dampish flap and slap, ignoring the cup with his hacked-up residue that forever in my mind continues to slide down the side of my favourite cup.
That’s it; I have to decide. I have to make up my mind.

I’m going to burn these shoes that aren’t shoes and exorcise these flip-flop (with the occasional drip slop) blues... But, I did pay a lot of money for this easy-on, easy-off, and I must admit, very comfortable footwear, and if it’s one thing that the guy taught me throughout those tortuous years of flip-flopping and gobbing into cups: it was to be careful with money! Maybe I could adjust them a little and in turn adjust my memory?

No … I think I’ll just burn them!

[This has appeared in a Kindle publication, She Fell in Love with the Snowman.]

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