How many of us could have substituted someone from a previous relationship for those sneakers? Who would that person have been in your Hero or Heroine’s back story?
You know it’s right from the start, from that first touch, skin on skin – the perfect combination of weight, balance and glide.
They are your little babies. You are there from the moment they make their first squeaking sound, a silent witness to every wrinkle and scuff.
Together you struggle through broken laces, and bits of heel that come unglued. You can’t imagine wearing any other shoes.
Through muck and snow, dirty streets and dusty dance halls, you move as one. You live together, dance together, maybe once in a while even sleep together …
Then comes that day … when all the denial about whether or not your favorites really do go well with every outfit you own finally comes to an end, and you look down to find a pair of grimy, scratched, faded old sneaks – could be any old sneaks – staring back at you.
Suddenly you can’t keep overlooking those holes in the sole where the air pockets used to be, and that little bit of toe that won’t stay on becomes all at once intolerable.
Soon, you find your eyes lingering on that one storefront you never noticed before . . .
Knowing that you are attracted to a certain look, you go through a series of short lived experiments with similar styles, maybe even another pair from the same brand.
But it’s not the same – nothing feels right.
At some point you even flirt with the idea of never wearing another pair of sneaks again.
But, before you know it, you’re the center of attention all over again, getting comments from friends and strangers alike about how good you look in that new pair of shoes you recently picked up.
The old sneaks are there at home, pushed half-conciously to the back of a shoe cabinet.
You entertain thoughts of a farewell ceremony out by the sidewalk trash can, or maybe of donating them to a homeless person, but in an ironic twist, are at held back last-second by a mixture of frugality and jealousy.
‘Someday’ you say yourself, ‘we’ll take that one last train ride to the seaport, or maybe a tanda in Central Park’.
‘Besides’, you ask yourself ‘what if one day I can’t afford another pair?’
In moments laden with nostalgia you find yourself going back again and again, only to find that that weird heel-wear pattern you hadn’t noticed before quickly extinguishes any hope of a comeback.
Years pass, living in the same apartment, but now in separate rooms, until one day while digging through your closet you come across a strange old pair of sneaks so ugly you barely recognize them.
On the way down to the trash, you stop for moment, almost thinking out loud: ‘nah – couldn’t have been.