It’s weird the things we hold onto, both physically and mentally. On and off today, I’ve been haunted by the image of one blue shoe.
Many years ago, when I was moving from my parents’ house to my first solo apartment, a studio with an amazing wood stove that dominated the room, I ran out of space to hold my as-yet-unpacked boxes. I’d informed my stepfather that the last box would have to wait, but he didn’t listen, and donated the box to charity.
Whatever charity he picked ended up with several dresses, a few pairs of jeans, a really old pair of ice skates (so very useful in San Jose, CA), some books designed to teach adults how to draw, and half a pair of lovely navy pumps with French heels.
Me? I was left holding one blue shoe, and more than a little frustration.
“You told me you didn’t have any more room,” he said in an attempt to defend himself.
“I said I didn’t have room last night. I didn’t tell you to get rid of my stuff.”
“Do you want me to get it back?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said, knowing such a request was absurd.
At some point we both laughed, but the really funny part is that it took me years to finally accept the fact that the other half of my pair of shoes was lost forever, and I’d never be able to wear them. Instead, I carried that single shoe with me into the first days of my marriage, into our first rental house, and into the first home that we owned.
It wasn’t until we moved from our condo to our first “real” house, seven years ago, that I finally pitched that shoe. I’m not sure why I kept it, and while it would be fitting to ascribe the act of throwing it away as the final goodbye to childhood, the reality is that I got tired of having a stray shoe among all the matched pairs.
Today, that single shoe has been clopping around my brain, pausing daintily on all sorts of shoe-related miscellany. I suspect it’s there because I was watching a sappy Christmas movie called, “The Christmas Shoes,” last night while lounging in bed. I suspect it will trot away to wherever half-pairs of shoes end up, in a day or so.
In the meanwhile, I’m thinking about how much my life has changed, mostly for the better, since I moved into that tiny apartment. At the time, I was crushing on a guy named Julian, and had just purchased my first computer. A year and a half later, I was living in South Dakota, married to Fuzzy.
Like that year, this year has been full of changes. My main writing gig ends for good at the end of the month, and while I know that will make our finances a bit tight, and finances for others even worse, there’s a part of me that feels oddly free. It’s time for the next phase of my life, and while I have no idea what it will bring I know that if I have to, I can hammer things together with the heel of one blue shoe.