A persons face might belie their age, but their feet will surely tell you tales. The scabs on my heels and toes: they tell the story of a school girl who couldn’t afford to buy shoes to fit her ever growing feet. My youth was marked by second-hand and hand-me-down shoes which squeezed my feet into unimaginable shapes, leaving them constantly smelling like damp sweaty socks.

The speed at which they move is a testament to hours of practice scurrying around accomplishing numerous errands after school. Oh, the miles my young feet trudged just to ensure I had a meal and roof over my head each night. Cleaning here, dusting there: escaping a beating here, delivering a message there. But my feet never ran faster than when they took me miles away from the vile spawn of my master as he tried to touch my nether regions. I might have been an orphan but I wasn’t going to be the receptacle of an atrocious swine’s seed.

It was the strength and balance in my feet that kept me through dark lonely days on the street begging for food, slaving away for a penny in dark mines and launderettes. And it is their patience and stamina that has brought me before you today: humbled by the scars that my feet have endured, but confident in their ability to survive whatever lies ahead.

So before you desire a walk in my Walter Steiger or Christian Louboutin shoes remember to take a walk in the thread bare sandals that saw me through my first year. No, my face might not tell you all, but my feet will never lie, welcome to the beginning of the first year to the rest of your life.

Published by Chioma Nwafor