Someday, I’m going to slip my feet into the most beautiful, perfect pair of Manolo Blahniks, and my life is going to change.
In the photo albums, picture frames, drawers and coffee tables that contain the memorabilia of my life exists the world’s most beautiful picture. At least it is in my opinion. I remember where I stood, what I was thinking, and what I felt when I took it.
It was 2002, the night before my junior prom. A smaller, skinnier version of me (with long, straight hair that nearly reached to the middle of my back) was leaning against the frame of the doorway between the dining and living room, holding my head at an angle as I watched my whole world strum the strings of a guitar a few feet away from me. He was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, the muscles in his arms clearly defined as he played a song he wrote—my song.
As I watched in adoration, I reached for a nearby camera (filled with black-and-white film) and captured the moment forever. He heard the sound of the camera and looked over at me and smiled. My mother always said he had a Humphrey Bogart smile (if Bogart had ever smiled). And she was right.
I never know when I’m going to come across that picture: a profiled picture of a beautiful boy and his guitar. I never could bring myself to throw it away. I loved it then. And I love it still. From time to time, it appears in a drawer, a notebook, or a random folder, and my life freezes. I stop and sit down on a couch or a chair, and a wave of “could have, should haves, would haves” wash over me.
While there are experiences that I will openly talk about—whether good or bad—and even embrace, I rarely talk about the years between 1998 and 2004. I’ve learned to tuck those memories away in a little corner of my mind and I’ve learned to forget what it felt like to love someone so much you felt you could stop the wind if you wanted to.
But, on very rare occasions I will go to that corner of my mind and revisit those times, just like a collection of pictures. Sometimes, it feels necessary to examine them for what they are and for what they were. But regardless, they always end with the same recollections, faded by time and tears: a dimly lit hallway on a late summer’s night years later where I leaned, crumpled, against a wall and looked at him with pleading eyes, “Please don’t break my heart.” And finally, some of the last words he ever said to me, which were uttered over a telephone: “I love you, but I decided to marry someone else.”
To this day, I have never heard the lyrics of my song. I cannot remember what it even sounded like. I always believed he would finally sing them to me at our wedding…the wedding that would and will never be. I hear that he is happy. Sometimes I get a random snippet of news about his life, and a little twinge of pain burns in my chest. Other times, any news bounces off of me because I feel nothing. Sometimes, what happened between us just makes me feel numb.
But I have to remain optimistic. Like a pretty, expensive pair of shoes, there are relationships you may want with all of your heart but you just can’t have. And if you do want them bad enough to pursue them…it will cost you. Like my picture, sometimes our choices in life are clearly outlined in black and white.
So, every morning I slip my feet into my pretty, relatively inexpensive shoes and I set out into an imperfect world with all the optimism a starry-eyed little Cancerian can muster. Among the city lights and the whirl-wind of life that exists all around me, I know my future, my destiny, my “perfect shoe” is waiting. And I know and I believe, that eventually, I will find it.
Someday, I’m going to slip my feet into a pair of Manolo Blahniks—the most perfect,exquisite most perfect shoe—and my life is going to change. But until that day comes—the day when a $685 pair of shoes won’t reduce me to a buyers-remorse-induced-depression—the shoes I have will do the job. And I’m one happy, blessed girl.