Shoes. We take for granted that these little bits of leather, plastic and rivets will be ready for any adventure that pops up. We assume they will support and protect us as we walk over hot sidewalks and soft carpets. And at the end of the day, it's nice to take them off and place them next to another pair of still-warm, well-traveled shoes. Shoes are at the start and the end of every adventure.
Maggie loved shoes. Her eyes would light up when she saw a pair that tickled her fancy. She’d be so excited to bring them home that she’d walk around the house wearing them like she was a model putting on a show. I don’t know for certain but I imagine that in each pair she saw a lifetime of adventures to be experienced. She loved adventures, large and small. I loved seeing her happy. Ergo, I loved her shoes.
Sunday I packed up 118 pair of adventures not taken and put them into boxes to be given away, or rather, set out on adventures that wouldn’t include she or me. The careful process of moving each pair from the closet where they’ve sat for more than two years frozen in time was painful. Each pair represented a thousand adventures we’ll never have together and a million memories we’ll never create.
Some shoes looked pristine as though they had never been worn. The mysteries surrounding these shoes made me wonder what grand adventure she was dreaming about when she bought them. Where was she planning to go or what was she planning to do while wearing these shoes? I am sad that she never got the chance to walk a mile in those shoes. I’m sad that each of these pair of untouched pumps, flats, boots or heels represents so many unrealized dreams and adventures not taken. For each pair, I mourn the loss of what we didn’t have. I’m sad because she was sad that life was cut short too soon. She definitely wasn’t done living. She, rather, WE had miles and miles still to go together, hand-in-hand.
The others, obviously her go-to shoes, showed her love with well-worn soles. Touching those shoes hurt because so many of those scuffs and scratches we made together and I miss her and those moments dearly. I suppose now is the time to be reminded of the sage advice of Dr. Seuss: "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."
Crap. Why is it that the shoes hurt so much? They are just f-ing shoes.
Because it happened… Yes. I’ll smile. I’ll keep smiling through my tears.
The business of change presses on.