A week ago, I saw a pair of men's shoes on the Churchyard's low wall, standing as if ready to take a step forward or a daring jump backwards to the ground below. They were in reasonable condition, recently polished, one heel was a little more worn than the other, but otherwise they looked as if someone would come and reclaim them (perhaps having removed them to walk on hallowed ground), and continue their journey to work. These weren't your usual trainers chucked over the fence as a prank. This was organised, tidy. It almost had the feel of someone having set their shoes aside as they'd walked into a new life, a Reggie Perrin moment? Or perhaps it was the start of a pilgrimage. It was their very tidiness that begged these questions, set side by side, polished and ready, on a wall outside a historic Church building on a relatively busy but leafy suburban road.
The next day they were gone. This almost made it worse - now I was wondering if he'd come back for them, or if someone had just taken them, having passed them so often and been tempted beyond their capacity to resist. Did his wife find them and take them home to challenge him on where he'd been the previous night? Or had the church simply taken them in as unclaimed, ready for the next jumble sale? I wonder how many other people actually noticed them and wondered if they were the result of a wonder, or assumed that they were the result of an assumption, or had they simply passed them by on the other side and refused to acknowledge their own curiosity?
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