The irritant

I am walking across the parking lot. I knew it would happen. I just knew it. A pebble the size of a pea hopped into the side of one of my sneakers. Damn, I hope it doesn’t get under my foot. I feel it wriggling down the side of my shoe. It’s like it is rappelling down my sock in an urgent quest to get to solid ground.

There it goes. Right under the most tender part of my heel. Ouch. With each step I imagine a tiny assailant with a dagger repeatedly stabbing the thick skin. I hesitate and continue walking. Of course it gets worse. Now it feels like an ice-pick is being pushed up into the fatty pad that protects my calcaneum. The pain is excruciating. It must have hit the bone.

I reach the car and sigh. I stand motionless hoping the pebble will shift to a less painful position. No such luck. Balancing like the world’s worst ballerina I unlock the door. I sit sideways on the seat and fumble to get the shoe off. The pebble is making a last ditch effort to permanently cripple me. I curse and try to untie the knots in the laces. Success. I stick an arm out and shake the shoe. I am certain that the vicious monster that savaged my foot will now reveal itself.

It was so small I almost missed it. It looks like a dirty piece of rice.

How can such an insignificant, tiny object cause such agony?

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