First written a year ago, this has languished in my drafts folder for too long. I’m pulling it out today. It’s been ages since I’ve seen my cobbler, probably because he did such a good job on my boots last year.
I set out out on a Sunday afternoon to perform two tasks: get my shoes fixed and find a song in the library. The two errands were conveniently located uptown (hell, everything is located uptown for me!) so I started first with the shoes.
I’ve had my shoes repaired once before, by the same repairman. Before you begin to think that it’s the shoddy quality of his work, I must tell you a bit about these shoes. I bought them on a whim about three years ago from Feet First. I was on a hunt for ankle boots, or “city boots” as I’d learned they were called by some bloggers. When I found them, I didn’t think much of them other than the price, which was somewhere around $100. These were my fledgling shopping days when $100 for a pair of shoes was still a little out of my price range, but I went for it anyway. There was something about the way they looked on my feet. Plus, they were made of leather, so I took comfort in the knowledge that I was buying “quality” over quantity.
Well, it being winter, I wore those boots into the ground rather quickly. With their kitten heel and thin sole, they stood no match for the salty, grimy floor of my car—for I was still driving a lot back then—the cold, and the sheer amount of snow. At the end of the season, they were kaput. The heels were worn down to the nail and the salt had left gangrenous sores along the bottom of the shoe. They looked disastrous and I wanted nothing to do with them anymore. So I abandoned them to storage. It was easy—summer came along and I forgot about them for the most part. Then winter came back and I dug them out, was disgusted by my lack of care, and pushed them back into the recesses of my mind and my closet.
Another year went by. I bought a new pair of city boots. Uglier, chunkier, man-made material from Winners. I think they were even on sale. I wasn’t impressed, but they got the job done.
Finally, as winter began to descend upon the Beaches this year, I pulled out my old city boots. I mourned the deterioration of the leather. I missed the way they felt, snug on my feet like slippers. I had to do something.
So I went up to Yonge and Eglinton—don’t ask me why—and hunted down a cobbler.
It wasn’t easy. It took me awhile, there were other errands on my list, and, worst of all, I couldn’t find a repair shop to save my life! Finally I walked into a shoe store and asked the owner if he knew of a shop. He pointed me across Yonge, to a little side-street and sent me on my merry way.
It wasn’t much to look at. A little shoebox of a shop tucked away between a couple of tailors, but when I pulled out the shoes, he looked at them appraisingly and said, “good leather.” I knew I had found my man.
Luis has vindicated me. I know now that he is the man I can turn to when my shoes fail me. And what’s more, he can make them. Last Sunday as he gave my boots a third life, he told me all about his life. And I listened in astonishment and excitement for I felt like I’d met a sole-mate. He is an extraordinary man with a talent. And I am so happy I’ve found him and so are my feet!