The Stories of Yvonne Sinclair
The Story Of T
The Sacred Feminine
The Weight Loss
A Caning By Miss Spiteful
Always On The Bare
A Visit To Greenwich
At My Lady's Pleasure
Ball Shackle Story
I Met Claire In A Coffee Shop
Long Weekend Conclusion
Robin's Electrical Torture
Slave To The Cane
The Escape Artist
The Huntress Caning
The Language School
The Worm's View
The Bossy Bank Women
But then had come trainers....
They were the nearest species of footwear to nudity: she could feel turf or concrete under foot in a way that regulation, church-going black leather shoes or boots didn’t allow. The softness of the pliable rubber gave her a blind man’s contact with her surface.
The soles had a fine, herringbone pattern. On parquet or other polished floors, they emitted those tiny, animal squeaks that one associates with a strenuous, unspeaking game of Squash.
This was her favourite pair: classic, black basketball boots with white trim, toe-piece and ankle-pads, crisp and bright as piano keys. The cuffs, that came a good six inches above the ankle, were held snugly to it with copious lacing, a work of near-professional exactness such as nautical types delight in. Five minutes to tie them on and almost as long to remove. The proverbial kicking-off of shoes at the end of a hard day’s shopping or art-gallery simply didn’t apply. Getting these off was escapology.
That too she delighted in, the sensation that they were welded to her lower legs, a part of her as much as Mercury’s winged sandals were integral to his ethereal, angelic function.
Plimsolls, her mother had called them, the plain black Dunlop gusseted Whitbys, or white “Green Flash” tennis-shoes, which were all that were known in her mother’s day. By the time Melanie had learned to irritate her mother with the use of the American “sneakers”, and upon the introduction of basketball boots that embraced the ankle and that as children they had therefore initially referred to as “plimsoll-boots”, the varieties seemed to have become limitless.Plimsolls
Melanie hated trainers. She despised them and abhorred them with the vehemence with which God abhorred the Taliban. Most especially, she despised the ignorance of those who now switched to describing plimsolls as “trainers” or, worse, every Tom, Bok or Nike of a trainer as a “plimsoll”. It seemed that she was the last person on earth that knew otherwise, to judge from the widespread confusion in common parlance.
But the dictionary the dictionary, the one and only majestic, authoritative, indisputable Oxford English Dictionary, that governed as much as it reflected, the language, was her endorsing companion. An alliance good against the whole world. The Dictionary also knew better than to refer to a hideous, boat-prowed, price-proud, luminous, rainbow, dragon-toothed construction of synthetics that closed, as likely as not, upon some electronic locking-system rather than honest lacing, as a “plimsoll”.
Plimsolls were they are canvas. Given a horny enough thumb, such as sailors or potters or cobblers might develop over a lifetime, you could just about sew a plimsoll yourself, if in need of repair. And they were rubber.
Strange that we distinguish these from the synthetic by describing the latter as “man-made”; other than, perhaps, a grass skirt and a lei, what garment is not man-made?
However, the plimsoll is recognizably of a less industrial order than all these latter-day extensions of the athletic anatomy designed by computers and generated in laboratories, with indescribable performance in mind.
Suzanne Lenglen hadn’t needed designers and technicians and private footwear consultants, in order to excel. Nor luscious Evonne Goolagong, that latterly mutated into “Yvonne”; nor La dancing Bueno. Because in their day performance was supposed to be sublime but still short of inhuman, not one that nudged the frontiers of possibility. But by the time the divine legs of Kournikova strode across the Centre Court, with golden pony-tail as long as her legs, they were armoured and concluded in artefacts that carried a certificate of title-worthiness, a warranty of authentic preparation for the heelless, sole purpose of the wearer’s culminating as champion. A guarantee of invincibility. Rubber, no doubt, featured in them in some surreptitious and indefinable way, but never such rubber as once filled primary school vestibules with its spicy new fragrance at the start of a new term.
Melanie danced along the tow-path in her favourite, spring-footed basketball boots, on legs gleaming like champion, Russian legs; scarcely aware even that the genuine plimsolls she delighted to display in were a precious survival, a treasure for which Converse and Dunlop were the heroic, rearguard conservationists. The tide of Training, with all its demands of specialization that ruthlessly discarded the innocent simplicities of an amateur age, were hard at work to make Melanie’s innocent pleasures obsolete. Fifteen years since she had laced on her first pair of white Dunlops, as party-wear, she remembered the initial delight, the light-headed, light-footedness of that Mercurial moment, every time she stepped into hockey- or basketball boots and began the meticulous self-confinement of her lacing. And once equipped, in the way an old-style Italian feuilliste had been when strapping her foil along her wrist, she was ready to run the earth or take to the skies.
The low, inchoate music that escaped from her lips as she padded onward, tirelessly like a hunting wolf, was a wordless hymn to the rubber and canvas that propelled her into her dreams.
Harold too was occupied in dreaming of Plimsolls I Have Known, as he was for a good three quarters of his waking life, when he set eyes on Melanie’s dancing basketball boots. He identified them even before he could properly see them. Long familiarity with the pattern, rehearsed waking and sleeping for most of his thirty-five years, made it unnecessary for him to see clearly much more than the distant flash, that sharp contrast of white welt with black upper, for him to be able to smell the classic “All-Star” model a hundred yards away.
Her every movement told him more of her age and shape than close inspection could have done. The lightness of tread spoke of legs at once athletic and slender. The rhythm and compactness of the bounce described a figure with breasts still firm; and her speed proclaimed her young and easy of breath.
His observations, aspect by aspect, had the precision of an Olympic figure-skating judge. Even from that distance, he put her down as around twenty-four or twenty-five.
He was a year out. It was her twenty-third birthday.
There was long enough for an arpeggio of thought to flicker briefly through her mind as she touched the point where the tow-path was composed of sand and fine gravel: our Australian cousins refer to plimsolls as “sand shoes”, even though they can be seen sporting them on smooth museum floors or homely carpets like the rest of us those that still use them…….
Twenty-three is well old enough to understand the varieties which sexual excitement can embrace; but perhaps not yet to be familiar with all of them.
She knew about flagellation and cross-dressing, though she had no interest in either, likewise depilation, tattooing and amputation (which aroused her somewhat less); and even without any instinctive attraction to it she had made the occasional excursion into bondage at the behest of an eager and imaginative youngster briefly known and long since dumped. An excursion which had imparted a mild taste for the superficial thrill of it, that since that one experience had still to be indulged. She knew that leather boots, particularly of the thigh-high model, could generate an unbelievable degree of excitement in some men, and even a heightened emotional state in certain women; in the remotest recesses of her experimentation or imagination, as yet she had no idea that what she was wearing constituted a specific fetish in its own right.
This is not to record a defence, a justification. It is to note the potential of the butterfly’s movement over Peking.
The brief frenzy in which she was blindfolded, tied by the wrists, still in her favourite boots, a frenzy almost as unsatisfying for him as for his victim, was a function of his upbringing, certainly, but the very intensity of it was at least in part the consequence of true plimsolls’ having been driven from the scene by the barbarian incursions of the trainer hordes, such that a beautiful creature like Melanie Straker, beautifully shod, has become a precious rarity.
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