Sam was different than the rest. He made her feel like Cinderella. She felt that he was made for her, the fit was that good. He was the pair of shoes that stayed in her closet for years, the Mary Janes that she wore to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday afternoons and to the flea market on Sundays. With him, she had just the amount of arch support without compromising her wiggle room. She had never felt so comfortable before.
Rachel often liked to compare the men in her life to shoes. After all, you had to wear them for a while before you knew if they were a good fit or not, right?
For instance, take Marco. Marco was stylish, expensive and Italian. He looked great, eliciting many appreciate glances and complements, but after wearing him for just a short while, she found him quite painful. He was so self-centered that it was difficult to even carry on a conversation with him. All he cared about were appearances. He definitely wasn’t the permanent type. It was quite a relief when she kicked off those shoes.
She soon opted for some more comfortable shoes. Robert was practical like a pair of patent pumps that came in a respectable height. She wore him for a while until she started to grow and then he just didn’t fit any more. He made no attempts to stretch with her and as difficult as it was she said goodbye to Robert when she started to feel confined and constricted.
And then she went through her Matt stage. Matt was all free and easy like a pair of Birkenstock sandals. They had a great summer road-tripping in his VW Van, drinking strawberry wine and smoking reefers. She wore gauzy skirts and let her hair grow. He was the perfect summer lover but when winter came along, like the Birkenstocks, he didn’t offer much protection against the cold. She still thought of Matt with a bittersweet nostalgia, often wishing she could slip into those sandals – just for the summer.
She met Joe when she and some friends drove up to a guest ranch for the weekend. Joe was a bonafide pair of cowboy boots, her very own Marlboro Man. With his well-fitting Wranglers and his leathery, sun-weathered face, he was very attractive in that rustic sort of way. She had fun hanging out with him at the ranch, for a time. When he came to visit her in the city and she introduced him to her friends, she found that cowboy boots were only appropriate for certain situations. It was obvious that he was uncomfortable in her world and he often made pointed remarks about her friends. She watched with only a little regret as Joe rode off into the sunset.
After all her misfit relationships, she decided to go barefoot for a while. Her feet and her heart hurt. Just when she thought that she would be shoeless forever, along came Sam.
She, too, had left an impression on him, an imprint on his soul and he vowed to stand by her forever. Over the years, like a favourite pair of shoes, Sam, became scuffed and worn, but it didn’t matter he was still the most comfortable shoes she had ever worn.
She still looked at other shoes, occasionally, but her feet always brought her back to Sam.