these boots were a drunk purchase years ago at the end of a destructive relationship that i put off leaving with drinking and retail therapy. tall. pointy. studded. fucking sexy. a snugging nudge too narrow for my feet, as all impractical shoes are. i didn’t care. once i tried on these boots, i wasn’t gonna take them off. (confession: due to my intoxication and the height of the heels on these boots, i wasn’t sure i could take them off in the store that night.) i paid for the boots i couldn’t get off my feet, carried the boots i’d walked in with, strutted out the store, and knew halfway across the parking lot i’d regret buying them the next day, but it was too late and they were mine.
the day after i bought the boots i put them in the back of my closet where they remained for a couple years because they were a symbol of the self-indulgence that accompanies my self-destruction. i finally forgave myself for that particular relationship and pulled the boots out a half-dozen times for weddings and other high fallutin’ events over the next two years. last night was a special occasion. last night i pulled on the fancy boots for the lucky seventh time, boarded a train to nyc, and sat in the front of a famous venue to watch my friend perform.
the boots looked good on the train bound for new york. the boots looked great walking from penn station to the village. the boots looked fabulous giving my friend a standing ovation. the boots looked sharp walking a few blocks to the pizza joint to grab an obligatory slice before heading home on the train back to philadelphia. but the boots failed me after the cheese slice, after i impulsively bought two pints of blueberries out of season for $3 from the sidewalk produce vendor, after i bought more tequila because my feet ached, after i bought bandaids for the blisters that had already ripped open.
the boots are sitting behind me now. upright. proud. remorseless. the boots know i’m gonna wear them the next time a momentous occasion calls for them, but they aren’t going to nyc again. next time i train into new york i’m gonna wear sensible shoes with reasonable heel height and arch supporting insoles. and next time i’m gonna clap even louder and longer when someone i love reveals her strength and vulnerability on stage and off stage for the world to laugh, cry, and celebrate with her. these bleeding blisters on my feet are souvenirs from a night well lived and well loved and a lesson learned about boot-wearing in the big city.