Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I tried to name this post, but they all sounded like Nicholas Sparks book/movie titles...

(Seriously, I tried to come up with a good name for this post, but they all started to sound like Nicholas Sparks book/movie titles..."a walk in their shoes", "a mile in his shoes", "a walk to remember", etc.)

So, there is that famous saying, "until you walk a mile in someone else's shoes," or some variation thereof. I have done that. Literally.

Many moons ago, my baby brother outgrew a pair of Chuck Taylors. He outgrew them in less than a year so they were still in pretty good shape. Being the kind and gentle giant he is, he gave them to his big sister. At the time, he was 10 and I was 25.

Now, I'm 31 and the shoes have started to quite literally fall apart. The bends around the toe area (you know where they crease when you walk?) have split apart. Threads are coming undone at the seams and are starting to fray. The black trim around the shoes has left for parts unknown. Every time I take them off, I need to dump out the little pieces of rubber that brake off in crumbles from somewhere in the heel area. It reminds me of shaking the sand out of my shoes after running around on a playground.

"The" shoes.

Another shot of "The" shoes.

...and the required pic of me and my baby brother. We're at a Husker basketball game. GO BIG RED!

The point I'm trying to make is that these are more than "just shoes". They are happiness wrapped in memories. I remember the first time I put these on my feet. I remember my brother being so excited that we wore the same size shoes. It was one of the few things we had in common at the time. Believe me when I say it's not always easy to find the middle of a Venn Diagram for a 10 year old boy and a 25 year old woman. I tried the shoes on, they fit, and I didn't take them off - - just continued to wear them even though they didn't match my clothes and were not the best shoes for riding horses. (Our activity of choice on that particular day.) I remember thinking that these shoes jumped from playgrounds and P.E. to working in an office and standing in line at the DMV. But that didn't really matter. He liked the shoes, I liked the shoes, and the "hand-me-up" made us laugh.

For the last six years, these shoes have been a constant reminder of my baby brother, and have made me smile each and every time I put them on my feet. (I feel like you should know that my baby brother, as of right now, is 16 years old, 6'5" tall, and wears size 15 Nike's.) It was much harder than I thought it was going to be to put them aside and say goodbye. Seriously, it's just a pair of shoes, right? Wrong.

Well, I did just what you would expect me to do. I stewed on it, felt all the feels, and then wrote. Here's the beginning of a rough draft of a poem you probably guessed was coming. I don't really like it, but it's what I've got right now. Poems come in fits and starts and sometimes I really suck at writing them. Anyway, here's the "poem" as it stands:

Yours, then mine. 

Shit-kickers, Mile-high heels, Jesus Joggers, and Waffle Stompers.
It's not the shoes that make the man, but where he goes and how he takes care of them.
Right? Right.

All shoes can be dancing shoes with the right music.
All shoes are created equal. Just like the people who wear them.
Right? Right.

Hand-me-downs or up-cycled.
Thrift store bought or Saturday night swap between girlfriends.
When I put your shoes on my feet, my toes curl into the grooves you made.
My heels are cradled by your indentations.

Your indentations, but my intentions.
Your old shoes, but my new journey.