I’ll Never Forget

I’ll never forget the shoes I wore to my very first day of kindergarten. Red patent-leather, t-strap mary janes with a double buckle. I cried for those shoes. My mother had something more practical in mind. Even then, I knew I wanted a shoe with some character. A shoe that would speak for itself a shoe that would scream, ‘this girl has style.’ So, like all divas do, I threw a full-on tantrum right there on the floor at Stride Rite. My mother was mortified. It was the seventies, and children just did not act like that in public. She practically threw the money at the salesman and we left; shiny red shoes on my feet and a smile on my face.

On my first day of school, a girl walked up to me with the same exact pair of shoes on her feet, but in black.

“These are my favorite shoes ever,” she said, “I wanted the red too, but my Mom said I couldn’t get them in red.”

“You’re my new best friend,” I said.

Nicole and I grew up together. As soon as we were old enough to start babysitting, we’d pool our money together and buy one fabulous pair of shoes. In 1983 we bought a pair of riding boots we had saved for all summer. Everyone else was wearing pointy-toed, slouchy ‘Madonna Like a Virgin’ boots. Not Nicole and I.

We drew up a custody agreement for the boots. She’d have them one week, I’d have them the next. Special occasions required a three-week notice. She kissed my boyfriend when we were sixteen. She took the left, I took the right. I’m thirty-five now. I don’t miss Nicole anymore, but I’ll always miss our shoes.

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Submitted by Danielle Schoonover of Pennsylvania.

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