RIP white leather sandals. It was a good four years.
It comes around unexpectedly, when you're occupied with life as usual. Going to church, having lunch, browsing books. Little do you know how close the end is.
Later, when hindsight brings its perfect perspective, you realise you'd only just responded to a compliment on how good they looked by saying what a good, long time you've had together and how well they've treated you. The places they've brought you, keeping the hot ground from scorching tender soles. The treks up hill and down dale, shuffling through sand, wading through cool shallows. Tramping over the remains of a quietly crumbling fort, getting to know new old cities, keeping pace with an 87-year-old as she ventures out on movie jaunts. Unforeseen splashes through mud puddles that waited innocuously for a careless, busily chattering girl to walk right into them. All forgiven with a quick rinse in cold water.
My feet still bear the marks of our last hurrah. Two V-shaped tan lines, from when I capered over Fort Cornwallis with two other generations of my family for nearly an hour, having only sunscreened my face and upper body due to my characteristic inconsistency. Just glancing at the worn buckles, the peeling leather of the lining, the upper soles scuffed shiny, would show you how I've changed them permanently. But the tan lines remind me that they have changed me, too.
It comes around unexpectedly, and you're suddenly left without a leg to stand on. (Literally.) You find a new way to walk, and it's not a bad way, but it's different. You can't help thinking, If only we could meet again. But that will be something new, not the same old. Because the old can't work anymore and, truth be told, it didn't really fit anymore, either.
But the new, if it comes along...
There'll be some times ahead.
Maybe I'm not only talking about shoes.