She spent half of her life
wearing the same pair of shoes.
When she first saw them, they were dazzling…
full of promise (and promises!)
Tightly laced and polished,
glistening like diamonds upon her feet.
They were immediately comfortable, and comforting.
At first, she walked through dark night forests
and midnight-winding streets; breaking them in,
smiling at the melody of new leather creaking
in harmony with the violin-sawing of cricket wings,
with the ruffling of the night owls feathers.
She dared to share her dreams, and danced in her new shoes
with abandon and trust and hope.
The shoes spoke to her of wondrous things to come…
making promises shoes should not make
but new love demands –
of forever cradling her feet against sharpened stones;
of warming her toes through winter’s storms;
of lifting her heals in rapturous dance…
She fell in love with these shoes,
flooded with dreams of where they might carry her.
Each morning, she slipped them on with tenderness and love;
each night, un-laced, she fell asleep clutching them to her breast…
…whispering sweet hallelujahs
for all the miles they had shared,
and would in all their ahead days walk,
promising – until death do us part!
She loved her shoes with complete abandon
and imagined they would always be as comfortable
as the day she first placed them upon her trusting feet-
each day praying these shoes would always love her in return;
with tenderness, truth, and above all else, never hurting her.
But the years went by, and those beautiful shoes began to wear.
With time, they lost their gloss, and the leather cracked and hardened.
She noticed, one morning, a tiny droplet of blood upon her sock;
Later, a small cut upon her heel, a new pain within her heart.
Yet still, devoted, she continued to wear them
though at night she began setting them beside her bed.
In the final year, she wept looking at these shoes;
they were now ugly shoes, painful shoes.
“These shoes,” she tearfully whispered,
“will never carry me to where I need to go.”
She could tell in other’s eyes that they
were glad these were her shoes and not theirs.
They never talked about her shoes.
They looked away in embarrassed empathy.
To learn how awful her shoes were might make them
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
She began, for the first time, to hate her shoes;
with guilt at first, then with an increasing passion
until one day an awareness swept through her thoughts:
“I deserve a better pair of shoes.”
She looked around, and for the first time understood
that she was not the only one who wore those shoes.
“There are many pairs in this world,” she thought.
I can either learn how to walk in them, timidly,
so they don’t hurt quite as much…
“…or I can throw them away.”
And she began to plan.
“No woman deserves to wear these shoes,” she cried.
So for the final few months, she gathered her courage
…..to throw them away.
Ironically, it was these shoes
that had made her a stronger woman.
These shoes had given her the strength to face anything.
They helped make her who she now was.
One day, she slipped them on a final time
feeling the worn leather against her savaged foot;
then, flooded with the intensity of love one can only feel
knowing love is forever lost…she kissed the shoe goodbye.
When the time was right, she took her shoes to a secluded ravine
kissed them, and tossed them…like an old pair of shoes,
into an abyss.
The shoes lay there broken, tattered, worn and useless.
The shoes could not speak of the love they held for the woman
For its tongue was torn.
Left to decay with nothing but the scent of the woman’s
tender hands scenting its laces, slowly fading.
As soon as the shoes were disposed of
she went barefoot into tomorrow, pain-free
and dancing and singing:
“I will forever walk the bare feet
of a woman who has lost her shoes!”
But in exactly one year, she slipped on another pair,
happy and in love again, dancing and laughing once more...
hoping against hope, forgetting old shoes,
willing with all her heart for this shiny new pair to carry her home.