“Mom, these are all I want for Christmas,” I explained to my mom just before showing her a photo of the most fabulous pair of boots I’d ever seen. As soon as I saw the black, clunky-heeled Gucci boots with bright red laces and rainbow cloth fabric around the ankle, I knew I had to have them. “They are pretty cute,” my mom, my fellow fashion advocate, replied before heading back to her lair. I knew she was going to order them online before she forgot. She’s good like that.
Come Christmas morning, I was ecstatic when I unpacked the boots from a silver Neiman Marcus box. I tossed aside the bow like a candy wrapper because I just couldn’t wait to get what was inside. “Those are wild,” commented my sister, Carter, before opening her box of plain nude heels. As alike as we are different, the shoes were a testament to our contrasting natures. “They’re so FUN,” I replied, while lacing up the shoes and gallivanting around the house, dancing and posing like I was on a photoshoot, to show them off to my unamused sister.
The boots were my second favorite Christmas present, following tickets to the Elton John show my brother, Ike, had gifted me. A pair of tangible boots couldn’t compare to an evening of dancing and singing in the presence of Elton John with my best friend. The boots didn’t even come close. But they could come along. Two days after Christmas, I laced them up, tickets in hand, and headed out the door to meet Ike for the show.
Since the shoes are black, they fit the dress code to Ike’s funeral I attended exactly two weeks after the concert. My Dad rolled his eyes when he saw my outfit, black lace pantsuit and high boots accentuated with a bit of rainbow. He gave that look that only Dads can give when they pass judgment without words. I didn’t care what he thought. Ike had liked my shoes. I thought of his compliments while staring at the shoes as they lowered his brown casket into the fresh soil.
Six months later I paired the shoes with my academic gown and wore them across the stage at my University graduation. Barely fitting the dress code, I was thrilled when the advisor didn’t make me take them off before the ceremony. The shoes were there when I nervously walked across the stage. The shoes were there as the Rector declared “et su pate,” and patted me on the head with the gown of John Knox. The shoes were there as I joined the academic march as a new graduate from the University of St. Andrews Class of 2019.
To me, my boots are more than shoes. They danced me through happy times, held my soles through bad, and provided comfort as I stepped into the future. The shoes are associated with the past yet a reminder of the inevitable future. No matter what life throws at me, I must keep putting one foot in front of the other. I should sell this to Gucci as advertising material.