I hadn’t realized the extent to which I had marked chapters in my life with things. There was the pair of very unique but likely overpriced Doc Martens©, not purchased on sale, at an outlet, or under any other pretense than to get over a short-lived and not particularly promising relationship gone sour. There was the perfectly beat-up brown leather belt grudgingly handed over to me by an ex who mostly couldn’t stand the cheap belts I was prone to wearing. There were the bowling shoes friends and I had stolen from a bowling alley some drunken night when I was in high school. There were the blue slip-on Nikes purchased on a business trip in West Virginia – the last trip I ever took with a good friend who is now on a ventilator and likely will not travel again. Not to mention the Land’s End slippers my mother bought me as a housewarming gift when I moved to MisFit Farm. Or, there is always the candy-cane holiday push-up bra purchased for pure aesthetics, and which seemed to do the trick nicely. Things.
The great thing about having Azure has been that she has helped me close these chapters with finality. Here she is, a breathing, snarling, chewing, chewing, chewing, living creature, sent to help me let go of all of this baggage, not to mention 20 years of shoes. She has a seek-and-destroy radar which has honed in on most of the emotionally-endowed shoes in my dwindling collection, and demonstrates a particular penchant for my underwear. She is willing to climb, dig or dive for any of these chosen items of her affectation. No shelf is too high, no door truly closed, no spot deep enough down in the laundry basket to deter her for more than a fleeting moment, during which you can race into the room, only to find her streaking past you and headed for the doggy door, the object of her search dangling from her mouth and a maniacal puppy grin on her face.
I have turned most of the shoes over to her for continued destruction, and as I sweep, vacuum, and pick up the shards of shoes of the past, I deposit each one lovingly into the wastebasket and turn my eyes forward to a breathing, living, future. When we are done cleaning up the remnants of Azure’s latest search-and-destroy mission, I laugh, and tell K I need to go shoe shopping, this time for just the right reason.