Tripping on a baby shoe.

Whenever I enter my childhood bedroom, I half expect to see myself sitting at my desk pouring over that night’s homework assignment. But instead I encounter an empty desk, a rickety old lamp, and a bed made of mismatched sheets. Then there are the shoes– the seemingly endless number of pairs that litter every part of my pink-carpeted floor– and which I inevitably trip on when I scour my room looking for a younger version of myself.

However, two nights ago when I arrived home to ring in the Jewish New Year, I tripped on an unusual shoe– my first baby shoe circa 1990. An off-white sneaker with streaks of red and yellow along the sides, it strongly resembled a bowling shoe. The kind that is only acceptable when you are rolling a ball down a glow in the dark lane. The kind a mother without a care in the world re: baby fashion would adorn her daughter’s foot with.

Now normally the shoes I trip on are only 5 or 6 years old, the pairs I wore in high school and in the early years of college. My baby shoes, or in this case single shoe, are not strewn about the room. Consequently, when I discovered it, I paused and wondered if it was even mine. How did it get here? Where did it come from? Why was it here? And most importantly, what did it want?

As my paranoia began to sank in, my mother called to me and asked if I had happened about a little childhood nugget. Indeed I had. And it reminded me of a quote I had put on my hoop during Wellesley’s annual hoop rolling contest: “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” (T.S. Eliot) I thought about substituting in coffee spoons for shoes.

Would 23 years of footwear capture my core? Would it reflect my transformation from platform-wearing aspiring Spice Girl to crime-fighting faux-heel wearing paralegal? Would it capture my obsession with all things Steve Madden and display my maturity and subsequent attachment to all things Cole Haan? Would it demonstrate my unconditional love for anything black and everything flat?

I suspected all of the above to be answered in the affirmative, and as I dipped my requisite apple in honey I began to ponder the ultimate New Year question– how would my new shoe purchases reflect my ever evolving personality in the year to come?


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