The box was left outside the door the way a broken heart might have left their precious child or an abandoned kitten to someone who they knew would do the right thing.
Inside the box was the decision anyone would dread to make and a plea for help to make it.
- "These shoes need to be thrown out. I wore them for over 20 years... especially in my purple period..."
(And what New York woman didn't have a purple period?)
- "Could you throw them in the garbage for me? I can't bear to. I really loved them..."
Those and the loved-to-tattered purple shoes were not just protection from broken glass-filled, urine-soaked sidewalks of a city we both grew up in. Those shoes let us walk our history and our story as we went from young to middle-aged and from youthful confusion to wise clarity. Each time we, like Cinderella, slipped our foot into them, we were reminded in tangible colors and specific style of important names, momentous occasions and a multitude of details lost to aging memory and an overworked brain wondering where we put the house keys.
We stood our ground in those footwear as we challenged governments we knew to be immoral and children we knew to be adolescent. Our sturdy shoes, our boots, our sandals, our too-high stilettos, our comfy flats all demanded our strength and complex beauty be acknowledged. What we put on our feet was never an after-thought but the bases for our stride into a larger world as we insisted to be seen fully and wholly as extraordinary women.
To say goodbye, to surrender the past, to let go of remembering every step of how we got to who we are now... only a friend could take that box and answer that plea.
Sunday Memories: Those Shoes Were Made For Talking
A Fearless and Moral Inventory