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ROBIN WRITES: Heaven will have a shoe store

Apr 12, 2023

My Heaven will have a shoe department. I know that sounds shallow, but I think unlimited footwear at my fingertips 24/7 would be a wonderful reward in the eternal closet of my eternal home.

I didn't always love shoes the way I do now. When I was a kid, shoes were worn to school and church. I had functional, durable sneakers that took me from year to year. And summer? That was barefoot season.

I minced through my blossoming years on tall, ‘sexy wannabe’ shoes; my head and shoulders led the way, plowing forward at an angle that told the world my toes were touching the ground and my arches were on an uphill ramp.

Laces sneaked up my calves as I wore my high-heel, knee-high sandals. They offered style without substance.

For more casual days, my toes bloated painfully from the fronts of Dr. Scholl's wooden sandals, the revolutionary shoe of the times that guaranteed to make legs shapelier while torturing the body in devilish discomfort.

Shoes in my 20s and 30s were just accents to the clothes and figure I wanted to showcase. They were slipped into, traveled upon, and climbed from without much thought.

I wanted them to be flattering — sure — but once I had them on, they were forgotten.

As the world turned and my body turned to something less than it had been in the decades before, I began to develop an increased delight in footwear. It wasn't that the styles were more exciting. The basic blueprint of shoes hadn't evolved in a dramatic way.

What drew me closer to ‘Imelda's Philosophy of Closet Floor Abundance’ was simply a matter of loyalty in size.

That's right. My shoe size has remained the same since I stopped growing vertically. In the years since then, my entire structure has ballooned and deflated with babies. Has bulked up on chips and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Has hollowed out from flus and diets and worry.

Stretch marks etch all the stress points, and permanent ridges of redness show where waistbands dissect my yearly-changing girth.

But my feet, by golly, are the same length as they were the first time I shoved them into a pair of adult shoes. Regardless of the size of my load, my tootsies have managed to keep me from tipping over without elongating or widening to platypus proportions.

They are not as pretty as they were in those nubile days, but I can live with that. More reason to love shoes … they cover a multitude of misshapen imperfections.

When I’ve spent the day shopping, forcing skin into clothing sizes that change according to what I had for lunch, and trudge from the store with a bag of baggy sweaters and sagging confidence, I know I can hit DSW and slide my faithful feet into any size 8 shoe that has enough width to admit my piggies.

Any color. Any style. Black. Brown. Striped. Ahh.

It's like a Fountain-of-Youth for my slowly-leaking self-image.

So, when I get to Heaven. After I meet Jesus and see my mother again. I will be combing the clouds for the nearest Shoe Carnival.

It's a small reward for an imperfect, yet sincere, life. And — thank Heaven — I know they’ll have my size.