Well, shoes, it's been a good run. On Sunday I had to run into the nearest Payless and replace you. I didn't want to. After all, my pinky toes had finally worn their own little holes in you. And those new shoes? They pinch and rub and make my heels numb when I try to drive in them. You're so comfortable, old shoes. I kind of can't bring myself to throw you away yet.
You started talking a few months ago, and now you scream. I didn't really find it inconvenient, unless I stepped in a puddle of fish water and my socks got wet. Only then were you kind of a pain in the ass. You are covered in fish bits and restaurant sludge and God-knows-what. You still have a faint scent of Sprite from that time our soda line blew behind the bar and we waded around in syrup for two days.
Everyone made fun of your velcro, but I always loved the fact I never had to worry about you coming untied. Even after all these years, you still offer the best arch support. I'm honestly amazed there are no holes in your heels.
But it's more than comfort. There's a sentimentality that goes along with you. At the insistence of my old boss, I went out and bought you. I was tired of buying cheap Walmart work shoes, and invested $60 in you. I swore I'd wear you until you fell apart, and I kept true to my word. You were the final step I had to take in order to become a bartender. Yep, my boss wouldn't put me behind the bar until I bought new shoes (the old pair looked a lot like you do now). Bet you didn't know that, did you?
I learned how to bartend in you. I was wearing you when I plucked up the nerve to ask for a promotion. I wore you as I turned myself into a better employee, a better manager. I wore you as I learned how to become a professional adult.
I've grown so much while wearing you, shoes.
I can only hope these new toe-pinching, heel-slipping, unbroken-in shoes will carry me as far, if not farther, than you did. I hope that someday, when I throw them away, I can look back at a thousand positive memories, the way I do you. I hope that those are the shoes I wear while I train to be a salaried member. I hope someday I have to throw them away, because a restaurant partner should have new shoes.
I hope I continue to grow, and learn, and evolve in this crazy restaurant industry. I hope I continue to grow and learn as a person, wife, friend.
And I swear to keep you in the trunk of my car, in case that Friday night rolls around when I just can't take it any more and have to change back into you. At least until these new shoes are broken in.