It’s not the first pink shoe I’ve loved.
The first would be a pair I bought for $3 at a garage sale. Nineteen-forties, pointy toe, with a bow. Still in the original shoe box.
“Love” is too strong of a word. That’s what I’ve been ruminating on now for days. It’s embarrassing to admit to love a thing when people are sick, the war rages, buying power drops, gas prices rise, the Pope blesses, spring blows in.
Isn’t this what’s wrong with the world? We love our things too much.
Last night my daughter was searching in her chest of drawers for a shirt and pair of pants to wear to Spirit Day today at school. She was to dress all in white. I half anticipated that she’d come to me in a panic — I don’t have white pants!! — insisting we run to Target to get some.
I rehearsed in my head the talk I’d deliver. You want to spend money on a pair of white pants that you can wear one day while people are dying, families don’t have enough food…and on and on.
She appeared a few minutes later with a white tee and a pair of brown pants from last summer. Turns out she has more depth than I gave her credit for. I’m the one wedded to my things.
I bought this pair of shoes two years ago in a San Francisco boutique, the kind of store where it’s not unusual for the salespeople to talk to eachother, as if you’re not there, during the entire course of a fitting. The shoes were regularly $200, on sale half-off. They were tight, but I knew the leather would stretch eventually.
I don’t buy shoes lightly. The last pair I bought is a European brand, normally expensive, that I found at TJ Maxx for less than $30. That was an exception. My spine doesn’t love poorly-shod feet.
Shoes aren’t the only objects I admire. I love lamps. I own more tables than anyone I know — I just gave away two. Furniture is like art to me. I have an enamel chair that sits unused against a wall. It reminds me of easel and painting rolled into one.
Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, with his “Ode to things,” gave me permission to embrace my own love of things. As I read of “shapely shoes” and “the softness of a woman’s hip,” I knew my appreciation for things was different from greed or desire. It is love for beauty.
Inspired by Neruda, I wrote my own ode.
ode to a pink shoe
graceful as a ballerina
big toe caress
made in italy
it holds me
across asphalt ocean
and gravel dreams
stained by travel
to carnival skies
cotton candy chamois
toe nail polish
fine foot fetish
fine latin lover
swim with me
in lucid night
say it slow
what i mean
walk slowly now
dream soft scent
mary kay superstar
pink shoe cadillac