I’m lying on the couch, trying to think of something to write about, listening to The Cheerleader I Live With swear at his Xbox, and semi-admonishing the dog for steaming & snotting up the window. I have an interesting life.

Wanna’ read another excerpt? Ok!  Well, here’s a wee bit of fiction/non-fiction for your entertainment… it’s about boots.

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Like an under-ripe eggplant, subtly piped with pink icing, the boots were perfect. I had been staring at them for weeks, fogging up the 2am window as I wasted my time ogling them. That shoe store was better than any of the peep show windows along that street, and I was satisfied with how it teased me.

I learned to stay awake through the early hours as I learned to keep myself safe. Looking through windows kept me occupied enough to stay somewhat awake. And so those boots saved my life, I’m sure. The scare of night is proportionate to the size of one’s imagination.

When I was thirteen years old I took to the street, making my bed in whatever unoccupied doorway I could find. Nights of crippling cold, days of crippling ennui, the constant threat of being attacked, stolen from, spit on, and being subjected to the worthless opinions of those who didn’t know why I was sitting there in the first place. I knew I was safer out there than anywhere else. No one should know that sort of thing at thirteen.

I lived on a busy street in the city – busy during the daylight hours for those with money, and busy during the early mornings for those without. With no one on the sidewalk that had money to spend, Vincent Street closed up until the next morning’s wad of cash strolled up. I was left in the quiet of an expensive street, keeping company with pigeons and rats. (Pigeons, by the way, are great conversationalists, although a bit political for my tastes. Rats don’t care).

I would waste the night on Vincent Street, walking in the dark, staring in backlit windows at cheap lingerie, expensive wool jackets, comic book figurines, and tacky jewelry marketed to tourists. But it was the shoe store at the end of the street that grabbed my attention most. It was my first stop at midnight, and my final dream before I fell asleep at about 5am. The shoes in the window were fairly ugly, but certainly unique.  They weren’t ‘normal’ shoes by any standards, and they certainly drew attention, although mostly negative in nature. And when I think about it now, I’m sure that that’s why I felt such a connection to them. They were like me.

There were boots. Laced high on a mannequin calf, the black laces wound up and tied the tongue, with just enough lace left over to make the bunny go through the hole and back out again. Staring at that leg, in that boot, I could only imagine how it felt to be bound that way – held, warm, tied tightly and protected by skin. I was jealous.  A mannequin’s disembodied leg broke my heart.

I thought about what it would be like to wear those boots when I was finally safe, to be able to think of them as merely footwear, and not a lifeline to a little sanity. I’d wear them to concerts when I grew up, and maybe I’d wear them while I rode a horse. I could see them hidden under my jeans, and exposed below a skirt, pointed at, laughed at, talked about. I saw me destroying those boots with wear, happily telling people about where this cut came from, or where that scratch occurred. I could see my feeble instep taking out the thick black sole over time, wearing it down with every step like gentle water eroding rock. My instep; the underdog of my body.

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I’m still working on it (obviously), but it’s just a weird little story that I get to tell because I can.

xo

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