Old Shoes

by Lee

Today was a particularly strange day for me. Today, I finally decided that it would be best for me to dispose of my favourite pair of leather boots. I have been avoiding this for months, maybe even years.  About five years ago or so, I ventured into a small, rather inconspicuous second-hand shop in Luxembourg. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but quite a few people had told me about this shop. It was called “Camden Shop” and they were selling second-hand clothes and shoes straight from London. It was one of a kind and I loved the retro decoration. I also loved the smell of old, English clothes. I was only in secondary school then. Studying and living in London was a dream and I was obsessed with everything London. I had fallen in love with the city after I had first visited it in 2008. Of course, I was going to spend all my money there.

I found a beautiful pair of leather boots, tried them on and they were a perfect fit. It was love at first sight. These shoes had found me. They weren’t cheap at all, around 40€, I think. In addition to that, the boots looked quite worn-out already but I didn’t care. I was meant to buy these boots and go home with them. And I did. I remember my mother telling me off for having spent so much money on ‘old shoes’. I loved these boots from the very first day.

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When I looked at my shoes this morning, they were looking back at me with dilapidated sadness. And for the first time I admitted that these boots needed to go. I had tried to get them fixed several times, postponing the inevitable. After all these years, I had grown so fond of them. They were like an extension of my body. It wasn’t just that. They had gone on so many crazy adventures with me. These boots had gone to university with me. These boots had also walked around in so many different parts of the world. When I first went to the US, I had my boots with me. When I studied abroad in New York, they were there with me too. They kept my feet warm and safe in every type of weather. Torrential rain, icy sleet, deep snow… you name it. I had also fallen in love several times while wearing my boots.

The shop I got these boots from has since closed down. I am about to graduate from university and the other day I bought a new pair of leather boots. It might sound ridiculous when I say that I almost started crying when I took the laces off my boots. It was a heartbreaking moment because letting go of these boots also meant letting go of the past. It wasn’t just saying Goodbye to a simple pair of shoes, but it also meant closing another chapter in my life. These boots had a long and prosperous life with me. I am sure that the previous owner had also given them many important moments. Even though my leather boots look so much worse than when I bought them, they are definitely worth more than just 40€ to me now. Next time you look at an old pair of shoes, look at them closely. Goodbye, beloved shoes.

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