I do not walk heel-toe. I step, one foot in front of the other, like a goddess coming out of the Euphrates, silt squishing between my perfect toes. I step as if my feet have never touched the ground, as if the ball of my foot is distrustful of the terrain under it, as if I have slid and fallen one too many times before.
I do not walk heel-toe. The back of my foot, coarse and flaky from years of encasement, hits the ground as an afterthought, as hastily thrown-on punctuation to my stride. My heel is hard, round and rough, like a stone not yet worn smooth by a river, and I keep it behind me for fear it will lash out.
I do not walk heel-toe. As I step, my arches stretch and snap, like the elastic of some old jeans that I left discarded next to my lover’s bed. There is pain there, but it is pain that reminds me that I am alive, that I move through this world, and that there are consequences for every action, every step.
I do not walk heel-toe. I do not walk as if I know where I am headed, but step forward mindful of where I have been. I send my feet out in front of me like bats send out sonic cries into the night, so that they might see the shape of the world as it changes, sunset to sunset.
I do not walk heel-toe. One day I will no longer walk at all. My bones grown brittle, my own weight too much to bear, I will be still, but dream of movement. I will make vain promises to walk better next time.
Robin Jeffrey was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming to a psychologist and a librarian, giving her a love of literature and a consuming interest in the inner workings of people’s minds, which have served her well as she pursues a career in creative writing. She has been published in various journals across the country as well as on websites like The Mary Sue and Introvert, Dear. She currently resides in Bremerton, Washington. More of her work can be found on her website, RobinJeffreyAuthor.com.
A Song for Robin