Goodbye Old Friend

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Queens Park Cemetery

It’s a sad day. One of my saddest. I must say goodbye to someone I am not ready to give up on. I am saying farewell to someone who has left too soon and forever. My beloved beaded leather wrap ankle strap sandals are long past expiry. It’s time for me to let them go. I will ask you all to indulge me in a moment of fashion silence.

But before I bury these babies let’s take a moment to remember them in their prime.

Sometimes you find pieces and other times the piece finds you. These gems were not found on a shelf in a store. No, they came to me as a hand-me-down from a girlfriend who was moving to a new city. I originally set my eyes on these babies years earlier during my residence-living first year at University. I admired them from just a few doors down the hall. That’s an understatement. I lusted for them and often delighted in borrowing them. Fast forward a few years and they were in my living room in a vessel less mighty than they deserved. What a wonderful evening it was, indeed, to find them at the bottom of the bag of goodies she decided to part with.

They came to me with beaded tassel extensions that kept getting stuck in my toes and ripping from their sown-in bed. One or two missing strands I could deal with. But it became too many missing for me. Others may have parted ways with them at this point. But me? No way. These pups were too good to let go so soon. A quick removal of all the extensions with sharp manicure scissors and we were back in action.

Like any true friend they have endured all four seasons over their many years. These shoes have been by my side and in my hands as I walked the beaches in Riviera Mayan, Mexico. They have pounded the Toronto, Victoria, New York pavement. They have schlepped the Las Vegas Boulevard strip and glitzy casinos on multiple occasions. Here at home they have been my go-to for bar hopping, workday inspiration and restaurant gallivanting rain, snow, wind or shine. They’ve seen it all.

Recently, I took them into my tried, tested and true shoe repair place hoping for a small miracle. I urged the cobbler to tell me there was a way to save them. I wanted her to tell me they had another chance. I asked about new soles. I tested if we could reconstruct the heel. But no luck.

She must have known I needed some tough love. She looked straight into my eyes and sternly said, “Dear, these are a danger to walk on. The heels keep creeping inward and one of these days they will bend until they break. So too will your Achilles if you don’t stop. They are done.” I breathed in deeply, holding back the tears and sighed out a nostalgic, “well, okay then.” But it was a guise.

As I walked out of the shop I thought about how I can repurpose the beaded panel into something. They must live on in a shade of their former glory, right? It would be a fashion reincarnation project of sorts. One that I will surely achieve. I couldn’t let them go. I didn’t want to either. But it was time.

Not every shoe gets to me. These were special. They are still special. *Sigh*

Days later, however sad, I begrudgingly said, “goodbye lover,” with a full heart - and heavy soul (sole) - and I laid them in their final resting place.