The soles I walk on

Sometime 4 years ago, 6 countries and countless miles, I purchased my first pair of ‘real’ boots.

I didn’t know a thing about boots or leather. A little bit of asking around lead me to a few reputable brands. I found a style I liked. Even on sale they cost more than I wanted to spend. Then someone showed me their pair. 20 years old and perfect. I figured if mine last even half of that they would be worth the cost. This was my first ‘buy it for life’ purchase.

I had to order them online to take advantage of the sale. The wait was killing me. When they finally came I didn’t care that the leather had a few marks. I just wanted to put them on. Dear god they were stiff but they fit like a glove. I walked all over the house jumping around.

From then on, everyone thought I was father of the year. I would get home from work, put the boots on and take my son for a walk through the neighborhood.

For weeks I felt like a masochist. The blisters on my heels ached and bled but I couldn’t stop. They were symbols of pride and joy. I couldn’t wait to put the boots on once more. Maybe one day they would love me back.

I’ve worn the boots almost everyday. I think they love me now. Call it Stockholm syndrome. We’ve become symbiotic, they cling to my feet as if they will die without me. Where I go, they go. They’ve traveled with me across the world. Over the romantic cobble streets of Europe, the aromatic alleyways of Asia, and through the precious snow of Kazakhstan.

As beautiful as it was, Kazakhstan nearly killed them. The salt and snow dried them to husks. In fear of the leather tearing I used the only oil I could find, sunflower oil. The leather was saved, barely, but the soles were not. I returned home with my socks showing.

Like I said, I didn’t know leather. After a humiliating lecture from my cobbler I learned how to care for leather. Even abroad. We replaced the soles and re oiled the leather. A week off my feet. I missed them dearly. I could probably find an actual poem if I search my notes. It was pure bliss to slip them on once again.

4 years, 6 countries and countless miles. Their journey is still just beginning.

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