Being a shoemaker’s son had its perks. You could learn a lot about someone just by the condition their shoes were in. The fancy, expensive materials used to make a shoe usually indicated a rich wearer, while a worn out sole meant the shoes were well loved and used every day.
Another thing you could learn by being a shoemaker’s son was what the specialty shoes looked like. And by the looks of the pair in Mile’s hands, the wearer had two right feet. It wasn’t hard to tell; the concave side of the sole was the same on both shoes, rather than the mirror image a normal pair might be.
This pair of leather shoes had been found on the shoemaker’s doorstep that morning, the owner probably having outgrown them. Mile had been staring at the shoes for a good twenty minutes, wondering just who they belonged to. The news that someone in town had an abnormality like this was, well, very uplifting.
As Mile slowly came back from his thoughts, his pessimism started growing. “It could be,” he said to himself, “that this person only had two right shoes to get rid of, and they somehow ended up as a pair.” The shoes were the exact same material and style, though, so his negative theory wasn’t very plausible.
Mile shook his head, clearing all his thoughts in order to focus on his task at hand. He needed to clean and polish the shoes, erasing any scuff marks and repairing any of the minor damage. They couldn’t be sold like this of course--his father would have to make a matching left shoe for each of the two rights.
Mile was hard at work when he heard a banging from outside, like the sound of a hammer on metal. He jumped up in excitement and ran out the front door. He turned and saw a crew of workers down the road, hanging banners and setting up tables. They were getting ready for tonight’s festival, for which the village was famous. They were known as the best dancers in the region, and people would always come by to watch, sometimes participating themselves.
There was also food served there, which was one of only two reasons Mile attended. The other was watching the people dance. He was cursed from birth to never have the ability to dance, tripping over his feet or anyone in his vicinity. The same abnormality that had affected the mystery shoe donor had taken over Mile’s life as well, getting him bullied and bruised his entire childhood.
But still, Mile was always excited for the festivals. He enjoyed being part of so many people having a good time, and the food never disappointed. There was another reason he wanted to attend this festival, something he didn’t quite want to admit to himself yet.
The person who had left the shoes could be at the festival. It was a long shot, and Mile didn’t want to get his hopes up, but his greatest wish was to meet someone like himself. Even just to know he wasn’t the only one in the world like this. After 17 years, it would be a welcome change.