Thursday, April 22, 2010
their names on the soles of my shoes
today i spoke with my friends. we are greek. niki, my friend is getting married soon. i cannot wait to see her commit to living life with an incredible person. they bring the world a lot as individuals and as a pair.
nikki just bought her wedding shoes. they are emerald and satin and enchanting. tonight lars, her betrothed, is out of town. she sat down with her shoes, a big glass of wine, amos lee, and a sharpie. it was the night to write the names of the single women most important to her on the bottom of her shoes.
greek girls do this when getting married. legend has it the names that are worn off by the end of the night will find love soon and those whose names remain on the shoes need to exercise patience. niki and i have never liked this tradition. it's like really? is this actually what we're doing. so if i'm single i get to live on the bottom of your shoe? my destiny is tied up in your ability to properly scuff up your heels? i object.
niki called me wondering if it was ridiculous to write on her shoe. we discussed the cultural merits and how tradition in and of itself adds a lovely dimension to any ritualized celebration. we talked about how she'd like to not have her wedding be about creating a sense of marital urgency among her friends and family.
as we were talking about this seemingly unimportant topic, i began to think about the bottoms of shoes. perhaps it is fitting to write our best friends' names on the bottom of our shoes. it is hard to cover up the wear on the bottom of the shoe. bottoms of shoes don't lie. maybe it is where best friends belong. it is the people who love us the most that walk with us through the toughest patches, that dance with us all night, and that bring us the drive and energy to get up and keeping on getting on. they are the keepers of our stories and the honesty meter. best friends hold our stories; they wear our life scars and reflect them back to us when we need a reminder to not make another poor decision, or to show us how far we've come and how resilient we really are.
i am not getting married soon like niki, but i may write the names of the people dearest to me on the bottoms of my favorite pair of shoes. it has nothing to do with the potential of my friends finding love or not finding love and everything to do with the fact that through them i've learned how to love in a more profound fashion. they, like the bottoms of my shoes, have seen my path and bear the marks of my decisions, both the asinine and enlightened ones and then all that live between. we hold each others' stories.
loved ones belong in the heart and mind, but perhaps also on the bottoms of our shoes where rubber hits the road.