Friday, September 18, 2015
Blue Suede Shoes
I am not a shopper. I did learn after my surgery that shopping for shoes didn't have to be the true chore it had been for years. Not having to wear a shoe with a built-up heel, or a shoe that could accommodate a large brace meant that the world of possible shoe choices had grown significantly larger. I wasn't sure about shopping with Jane for shoes. She has a refined fashion sense, I have none. She can spend hours in a mall looking for exactly the right thing and leave not finding it but still happy. I get antsy after a half hour in a mall and can handle at best three stores and if I don't leave with what I was looking for I leave disgruntled. And of course there is the real problem of the gulf between the shoes I might love to wear and the shoes I need to wear. I need shoes that have some support for the ankle, that can accommodate a brace, a slighter smaller lighter brace than those I wore as a child but still a brace.The combination of all of these issues had me anxious.
The shopping trip was a breeze. First store we were in, I found the shoes I needed, the shoes I wanted. When I was in my twenties, I loved desert boots. Never owned blue shoes before in my life. It was cool, fun and a small thrill.
The next week, I wore them to a reading at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library's Wine and Word Series. The night before the reading, I tried them out. Wore them around the house, walked about in them. I had to, I didn't want to trip and fall wearing new shoes. They were amazing. Some one in the audience at the reading asked how the shoes felt. I started talking about how the last time I ever wore sneakers was in the early nineties. Then I broke my foot one too many times and wearing a brace became the norm yet again. so twenty two years later I put on a pair of desert boots and I am transformed and transfixed. They are so light, they feel so not present that I am for a moment speechless.
At one point in my book I describe sneakers as a symbol of freedom. And of course that is a slight hyperbole. Freedom is much more complex than the lightness of a shoe. Regardless, when I put on those blue suede shoes for the first time I remembered exactly what sneakers had always felt like, they felt and feel liberating. They feel like freedom.