A shoemaker’s shop. Custom-made, fashionable leather orthopedic shoes are displayed in a row behind the glass window. The shoemaker and his partner, a young man and woman, stand relaxed in the doorway. He wears a shirt with white-and-blue horizontal stripes, giving him the look of a French sailor, or a waiter on San Francisco’s Belden Place. Her arms are folded, and she leans casually against the doorjamb, listening. They are talking to a third man, who holds a bicycle with one hand and a small notebook in the other, in which he has written the shop’s address. He gestures with the book, and then lifts one foot, nods toward his sneaker’s rubber sole. My feet are unusual, he is saying. There have never been such feet as this, such difficulties, such geological formations. Steppes, I have, crags and badlands, regrettably placed mountains. Footquakes.
It is no problem, says the shoemaker. He is barefoot, himself.