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These Boots Are Made for Walking

I stood for a long time tonight, looking at you contemplatively. You arrived in December, just in time for the holidays, wrapped in white tissue paper, nestled quietly in that big brown box. I tore it open eagerly, like a child on Christmas morning, my heart thumping in anticipation, because I wanted you. I wanted you so very much. 35 years old, in my ragged old pink nightie, but I was still a child.

And yet- when I finally held you in my hands…you looked…(dare I say the word?) ordinary. And the onlooking world gasped in shock, hand to the heart, mouths forming ‘O’s. For isn’t there anything more unkind in the world than proclaiming one’s ordinary-ness?

I caressed you gently, remembering your every curve. That sleek black skin, as black as a midnight sky- so black and dark it filled my eyes with nothingness. I tested your strength and thudded the marble floor in my living room. You reverberated a dull thunking sound, and I nodded with satisfaction. But yet- despite your virtues, and the remembrance of how you were my best friend when I was 18, you still seemed…..ordinary.

And so, I decided- I entered you with my feet, winced a little, and did you up. You bit me in the back of my ankles. Bloody hell. The you of 17 years ago did the same. I clomped into my bedroom, and you groaned beneath my weight. At 35, I am no longer as lithe and svelte as I was at 18, but I expected you to know that. Maybe it is a little unwarranted, and unfair of me to expect that. I stood in front of my full-length mirror, seeing you wrapped around my feet. And I remember the days of yore, when you were my daily staple, when grunge killed folk-alternative bands, when it was acceptable to wear you with a dress, when I kicked a chair while wearing you, and bruised my toes, when I slipped down the stairs and bruised my derriere. You were there. You were there all that time.

I’m 35 now, and no longer as cool as I used to be. Stranger and slightly eccentric and crazed, perhaps. But certainly not as cool as the goth chick who used to be, she who smoked Camel unfiltered cigarettes, played underground gigs with Kevin’s Fender, sang like Veruca Salt and hated Northanger Abbey: by far, undoubtedly, Austen’s most despicable work.

Still, you’d do,  I suppose. If anything, I shall wear you to weather the rain, sleet and snow.

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