My hubby Tom* and I are both collectors of soles – I love all kinds of feminine shoes, and he’s hung up enough about sneakers that he even names the ones he’s got. We have so much footwear that we have a whole room dedicated for storage, and even then, we’ve had our “stockpile” spill over to the living room and bedroom.

Since we have no children at the moment, they have become our precious ones. However, my love for all our beloved shoes is not equal – I have kicked some of his “kicks” out of the house!

It started in December last year when I went on a shopping frenzy during the sale season, and bought boxes of pumps and stilettos. I realised quickly enough while staring at our shoe “boutique” that we didn’t have enough space to keep them all. Some of our “kids” had to go! At first, I decided to throw away a few empty shoe boxes to make space. I was happy, and my latest picks of the season looked happy, since they were nicely displayed and not cramped on the shelves.

Then I came across my husband’s old jogging shoes, which looked sad and shabby next to my shiny new pumps. Surely, my hubby would not notice, or mind, if I disposed of such a dirty pair, I thought. Into the chute they went that day.

Over the few weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year last month, I took it upon myself to sort out our storage issue and undertook a private clean-up session… that was “exclusive” to his collection. A couple of worn-out low-cut skate shoes here, a high-cut pair of basketball sneakers there (which came in clashing neon colours I hated).

I binned them all, justifying my actions by thinking that I was helping to curate and “spring clean” his collection. I committed such acts of purging now and then over the weeks, on the sly.

“Lin*, did you see Frankenstein? You know, the crazy-coloured, super limited, rare basketball ones?” asked my husband one weekend as we were about to step out for lunch. “No, I never saw those ugly eyesores since you last wore them to the family gathering,” I said, knowing full well that they were in the landfill now.

From that day on, he became increasingly stressed and suspicious, as he found more of his beloved sneakers missing. He grilled our domestic helper to see if she had gotten rid of them, went around asking our neighbours if they had taken any by mistake, and even installed a mini-camera at our door to see if there was a thief taking those he left out in the corridor (it only managed to catch a tabby cat that frequently peed in our potted plants). Throughout it all, I maintained my innocence.

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On our wedding anniversary last week, I decided to confess that I’d thrown away his beloved shoes during our gift exchange – it was a practice of ours to come clean with each other then, to signal the start of a new year in our married lives.

I could no longer take his whining and more importantly, I could no longer bear the guilt. I even bought him the same horrendous basketball hightops (at the cost of foregoing an It pair of luxury brand wedges).

That night, I braced myself to admit to my evil-doing. Ever the loving hubby, he volunteered to go first. “Lin, you know last year when we were moving house? Remember how you thought the movers lost a whole bag of your shoes? Well, I kinda donated them to a ladies’ charity because I didn’t like those heels that made you tower over me. I’m so sorry! So what’s your confession?”

I accepted his apology, muttered something about only buying gifts on discount, and passed him his wrapped pair of fashion mistakes. I pretended to be nonchalant, but deep down I was shocked! To think that my own husband had thrown away my precious shoes, even though I’m guilty of the same thing I could not help but feel angry and disappointed.

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I spent the rest of the night feeling angry that he had given away some of my favourite platforms, and confused as to whether I should confess to my own crime. At the same time, I was also bemused to discover that he harboured a height inferiority complex.

I have yet to reveal to my husband that I was the mastermind behind the case of his missing soles. Still, I have stopped trashing his footwear (both physically and verbally), and promised myself that I will buy less shoes to make space for his. Maybe, just maybe, I will confess on our next wedding anniversary, and hope he will take it like the shoe-obsessed, but also, wife-loving man that he is.

*Names changed to protect privacy.

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