I don't wear my sister's shoes currently, although one sister has promised to ship a pair she bought for herself because they don't fit her.
The title of this post refers to the name of a store I used to window-shop in front of in Chicago back in my penniless college days, and I think it was called My Sister's Shoes. It was on Division about a mile and a half from my dorm, and I would sometimes walk past it on my way home from the Jewel.
I went to a college in the city for about a year and a half, and during the last few months, I was feeling antsy. It was summer school, and I was only attending in June and July because I couldn't stomach spending those months back home in Indiana where I had no friends and no job—nothing but WGN and Chips Ahoy and a lawn mower that was inevitably waiting for me in the garage.
I had quit my job in the city in order to fit in as many summer school classes as a I could, and I was down to my last $200, most of which I had borrowed. Come to think of it, I had borrowed it from the sister who is about to ship shoes. I shoved the cash under my mattress, seriously, and kept it there to pick at as I needed. Burritos were $2 at Guadalaharry's, as were egg rolls at the dump not far from my dorm, so I would take a few bucks here and a few bucks there.
On one of those clear, sunny and magical days Chicago carefully dispenses, my friend Gina and I walked to Jewel for some groceries and walked past My Sister's Shoes on the way back, and I spotted shoes in the window that spoke to me. They were flats, a light tan combined with an even lighter tan to create this two-toned leather marvel with little straps and round toes. I couldn't afford them, I knew, but they said, "Take us home. We'll be good to you." I didn't.
It wasn't long after that that I decided to quit school, to move back home to the house I was avoiding all summer, and to work so I could afford another year or two of school. And in that state of mind, facing an uncertain future and a new chapter in life, I remembered the stash under my mattress. Some of it was meant for shoes, surely, so I grabbed just enough, and Gina and I literally ran all the way to the shoe store.
I bought the two-tones and wore them every day for over a year, or something like that. They were snappy with or without little white socks, and I loved them. I loved them so much that I saved them for years afterward, even when they were too worn out to ever wear. I moved them to New Jersey after husband and I married, and I moved them to Ohio later on. They never left the back of the closet except when they were shoved under the bed, but I couldn't bring myself to throw them out.
Eventually I decided to be less sentimental about things like shoes, although I still have the band jacket I got in high school, and I threw them away.
Have you ever held onto something like shoes long after they have served their purpose just because they reminded you of a certain state of mind or a certain sunny day or a certain friend who ran with you over a mile just to help you to be impetuous?