He stared at his closet floor—littered with left shoes: work boots, cowboy boots, slippers and flippers, Nikes and a shiny shoe for a tux. He wore the tux once but then that is another story. There was that dress shoe that he wore with his dress uniform, again another story not germane to the point of order. Again, maybe it is—germane that is.
Orders. He was used to taking orders—it seemed that everyone outranked him. They plunged him into this or that order but out of order in this account—for the moment.
Somewhere the matching shoe or boot or whatever existed—trashed or treasured. Maybe in a Salvation Army collection box or maybe only ashes, ashes only the DNA would expose as the match to this or that left shoe he was staring at on his closet floor.
He considered having a shoe (he needed only a left shoe) specially made so as not to waste the ubiquitous right shoe that came in a pair. It was expensive—for a specially made left shoe, more than he wanted to spend and undoubtedly more than he should spend out of his stipend. Meager was that stipend—and after all he’d given too.
He considered finding just the right person that would covet a right shoe—a shoe that he would eventually discard for lack of a better purpose. Who would want a size 12 E anyway? He considered publicizing on Craig’s List—“Right Shoe for the Right Footed Person”. An effort that made him cringe—wishing that someone else suffered his malady only the opposite of his case.
So, he bought a pair of this or that shoes for this or that occasion and turned his back on the right shoe to find its own way. (He needed only a left shoe).
Discarded. Well being left footed doesn’t spell discarded but it did shrink opportunities. Dancing, for instance—can’t do the two-step or a syncopated waltz. Difficult to muck the stalls, deliver the mail door to door, serve on tables of hungry two foots, pace the floor. In his closet, he got around and he did pace; disconsolate at first, sorry for himself, angry at them. He eventually got over it—someone cared, someone really cared. He never met that someone face to face but he met Him faith to faith. It was love to love; it would be ok!
He showered, shaved, deodorized, brushed his teeth, combed his hair, slipped on his dress uniform, pined up the right leg of his pants just above the calf line, slipped that shiny left dress shoe on his left foot (he needed only a left shoe), cocked his cap just right, jaunty style. Then he grabbed his crutch, under the right arm—he still had his right arm and marched or should we say sashayed to the door. Today he meets the president in the presidential palace to shake presidential hands (he still had his right hand) and receive his presidential medal for taking presidential orders. Piss on the presidential medal, piss on the presidential palace, piss on the president, piss on them, you know, them that gave the orders.
Tomorrow, maybe tomorrow, or was it the day after or the day after that—they promised a right foot—a right foot made out of plastics, titanium, wires, motors, gears and whatnot. That’s what they promised. After all, shouldn’t he get the best damn foot available for the best damn foot they ordered him to lose?
Then what to do with all those left shoes: work boots, cowboy boots, slippers and flippers, Nikes and a shiny shoe for a tux. A shiny dress shoe for his dress uniform. All in the closet—and he stared!
The road, the IED, his lost right boot in his closet.