Is it a bird, if it cannot fly? If it is stuck to paper and made of paint, but you can see its Potential, does it live? I see faces In maps of far away lands in stucco and cracks on the wall, with emotion, personality, attitude. Our minds look for patterns, and find them, even where they don't belong.
The bird said to me, “I just couldn’t handle the nagging anymore. She just kept pushing and pushing me, right up to the edge. Finally, I just exploded at her, ‘Fine! You don’t believe me! Fine, you’ll be sorry, you’ll see!’ and I jumped.”
The bird fluffed his feathers, then blinked into the distance a few times before turning an eye back towards me. “Well, how was I to know? So, flying isn’t something one has to approach gently, with caution and baby steps. Turns out it’s one of those ‘learn by doing’ things.” He twisted his head around, and around, until he was looking backwards, then picked at his tail feathers.
I waited, sure there was more to the story. But he just ignored me.
These are my walking shoes, and here is the story of how I came to own them….
A long time ago, in a previous life when I had a husband who had a huge extended family and none of them hated me yet, I was friends with one of his cousins. She and I were really close until she started dating the man who became her husband. He and I never really got on too well.
No meanness ever passed between us, just a lot of confused looks. He was one of those people who never made a lick of sense to me. He was just so… nice. Not creepy-nice, or syrupy-sweet nice, more like 1950’s television nice. Aw Shucks nice. He didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, and didn’t eat meat, all things my friend had once done, with relish. Almost over night, she focused in on him and she stopped being fun, started being nice, like him, and we lost all the things we’d had in common.
Anyway… many years after they married, her husband and I briefly shared running as a hobby. Though, hobby is probably to mild a word to describe anything he did. He was the type to get obsessed with things. He knew everything there was to know about running and all the equipment necessary to fully experience all the pleasure one could squeeze out of it. (yes, of course he ran marathons, did you have to ask?) It was truly just a hobby for me, and a short lived one at that. Really, I was more of a jogger at heart.
He offered to take me to his favorite shoe store and help me pick out a pair of shoes, and for reasons I can’t even fathom, I agreed. So the two of us went to the store. Alone. Take any awkward situation you’ve ever been in with another person and times it by 11. We both really tried to find things to talk about, but it’s like talking to someone in a language you’ve just learned. Once you get beyond your health and the weather, you just run out of words that you both know. That car ride lasted at least a week.
When we finally got to the store, he introduced his running buddies, then left me to their salesperson devices while he shopped for himself. (It was a relief, actually.) The sales person figured out that I wasn’t as much a runner as a fast walker and sold me these instead of one of the really fancy and expensive pairs my friend’s husband had been talking about before we got there.
Eventually he drove me home and neither of us ever acted on our promises to go run together someday. Then I lost all of those people in the divorce and that was that.
Regardless, these are really good shoes.