Edgar used to wear socks at the beach, to keep the sand from sifting through his toes. "Toes like fingers" his Ex-wife Laverne had liked to sneer. Edgar was embarrassed, but more than that, he tried to avoid Laverne whenever possible. Edgar would walk around the house soundlessly, on fingertip toes. Slap! Went a long, traitorous toe against the shiny linoleum.
"If you're clodhopping through my clean kitchen I'll slam you good," Laverne would say.
It was never good to be slammed. Well, perhaps for some people, who got a kick out of being whacked around, but not for Edgar. His own personal fetish was a basic one. Edgar had a Birth Fetish, as in, he wanted the world to see him naked as the day he was born. He enjoyed being naked, always had, ever since childhood when all he had wanted for Christmas was a chance at freely flaunting his Birthday Suit.
"Put on a robe, or else you'll catch a cold and make me sick simultaneously," Laverne would complain. Even on their Wedding Night, Laverne had insisted that Edgar keep his striped pajamas on throughout the minutes of grunting that united them. Edgar had thought it rather unfair that Laverne was allowed to flaunt her body poolside the next morning, but as Laverne had said, "I didn't marry you for your looks, Edgar. Looks are where I come in."
Laverne's looks were also where she exited, in the embrace of another man, but at least she was history. A scowling monument erected directly over Edgar's manhood. Well, he was sick of it. He would begin life anew. Edgar was going to be reborn through taking easy steps; baby steps. He would go to the bank. Take out money. Renew his Passport. Book a flight with a ditzy, though very attractive, travel agent named CJ. Call a cab to drive him to the airport. He would re-open his life. He would even make a list and check, check, check off everything.
Everything would be finalized. Check, check, check it out. Edgar checked out the nude beach. He stood there fully clothed, taking in the saggy gentleman to the left of him, the liver-spotted woman strolling by. It was like a Menagerie of Nudity, but Edgar thought better than to talk to the animals. Edgar reminded himself that the first time he was born he didn't have anyone to talk to, either.
The shoes had to go. If he accomplished one goal this entire trip, if he never disrobed in public or private again, one thing was certain: the toes must show! Edgar sat in the sand; untying the laces that bound him. He pulled off his shoes rapidly, surveying his porcelain feet; the long, crooked toes ivory as piano keys. Edgar was certain that he could play piano with his toes. He could learn Chopin, or at the very least, Chopsticks.
Edgar kicked sand at his empty shoes, like a Princess giving the finger to towers that had once entrapped her. Towers made of leather; a little dull, but no one really shined their shoes anymore. No one really walked around barefoot anymore, either. Not in Princeton New Jersey, but Edgar swore that he would. His feet would take piano lessons downtown; his toes would do the walking, the talking, and the thinking from now on.
Edgar loosened the belt that imprisoned his guts. He was ready. He tossed the belt to the sand. "Ah, birth" thought Edgar, as he pulled down his pants. A jellyfish flopped along the shoreline, as oblivious as a placenta sac.