Child’s shoe, left foot, six inches long. Very old, the leather is hard and brittle. The shoe has been repaired many times and has had a piece of leather added over the toebox in a Frankenstein line of stitches. Toe has a slight hole in it so you can see the layer of leather underneath. The sole has three pieces of metal nailed to the front area, forming a horseshoe. From the flea market in Linz, Austria. Among other old things on a table sat this shoe and two others in a row, all the left foot, in graduated sizes. Equally worn and mended. The family was probably very poor. I think the child only had one foot, the left one. Maybe there was a partial right leg. I doubt he or she lived past the age at which the largest shoe on display was worn. I should have bought the other two..
Tags: boy, broken, child, death, disabled, disease, family, girl, handmade, illness, loss, missing, pain, poverty, sad, scars, shoe, single, used
John and I had that perfect kind of love that you only see in movies. We were made for each other and knew it. Then in the blink of an eye, I had to move 12 hours away. He couldn’t come with me. The plan was always to get married and be together for the rest of our lives but the distance made it hard to even keep in touch. He and I were so busy now with our lives that we hardly had time to call. We decided it might be for the best to seperate after managing to stay together after more than 7 months apart.
I still had a pair of his sweatpants. For weeks, I moped around and wore these pants and wished my life hadn’t taken me so far away. During the 7 months of being away I met a guy, Jason, and he became my best friend. After John and I split, Jason told me that he’d been in love with me for a little while now. I told him I didn’t feel the same…I was too hung up on John to start anything new. But he was very persistent and eventually I began to agree to go on dates. After a few months we were dating and then officially a couple. I still thought of John every day and felt terrible about that. I loved Jason, I knew that, but it was nothing like I felt for John. Jason supported me and helped me along in life and through difficult times but Jason had made me feel alive and giddily happy too, like a teenager again. I still had those sweatpants.
Jason and I got serious. I introduced him to my family and he took me to his parent’s house for Thanksgiving. He gave me a key to his apartment and two drawers in his bureau. I had all but moved in. Every once in a while Jason would speak of our future in terms of years and I would get a rush of anxiety and think of John and how we used to talk.
I wanted to move on from John. I consciously stopped myself when I began to think about him. I told myself that I was with someone else now and there was great potential. I began to love Jason as he loved me, without anything in the way. I felt that I was finally over John and I put the black sweatpants away. Then one day I get a call completely out of the blue. It was John and he ‘just wanted to say hi’. We hadn’t talked in a long time but it seemed like no time had passed and we talked for hours. At the end, before we hung up, he told me that he still loved me like before. I told him that it wasn’t possible, I was with someone else, and that we couldn’t be together. He said he’d move… I said he couldn’t. He said he’d get an apartment and I could live him him… I said I have my own life here and can’t leave. We left the situation unresolved but with strong feelings in the air.
The black sweatpants came out of hiding the next day. As I write this, I am sitting on Jason’s bed… he’s out for a few hours… and I’m wearing those black sweatpants. I miss John and the love we shared. I keep these sweatpants and I feel guilty. The love that John and I still feel for each other isn’t going away any time soon. I will probably always love him deep in my heart…and that is the saddest part about it. With John taking up part of my heart, Jason will never be able to have it fully. He loves me with every ounce of his being and wants to be with me forever. I could possibly marry him, and I want to, but I know that John will always be there.
These sweatpants are the saddest thing I own because they represent the feelings I have to struggle to forget every day. These are the feelings that stop me from loving Jason as he deserves… and are definitely the saddest thing about me.
The saddest thing I own hangs in my closet. It’s a blue maternity jumper, never worn. In the right pocket, results from Mercy Women’s Center confirming what a home pregnancy test (taken in my high school bathroom the day before graduation) showed: that I was pregnant. In the left pocket, dated three months later, from the emergency room, are blood tests confirming what the blood and abdominal cramping at my friend’s house showed: that I was no longer pregnant. Though it’s been five years and I never read them anymore, I remember every word.
Tags: dress, maternity, miscarrage