I have this freakin’ awesome pair of brown leather Frye boots.
I got them in 1985, before I went to college.
They cost $172.00.
I remember holding my breath as the cashier took all my bills and slipped them into the register.
When she handed me the bag, I thought I might throw-up.
That first semester I walked around campus with bloody heels, praying my investment would eventually pay off.
I’d dreamed of soft chocolate boots, like the couches the people I’d babysat for owned.
But my new boots were stiff and unyielding.
Those suckers took forever to break in.
Somewhere along the way, they stopped hurting.
And when I wear them now, someone always admires my kicks and asks me where I got them.
I like to watch their faces when I say I got them in a shoe store that closed in 1989.
Ten years ago, I promised myself that if I ever found a similar pair in black, I would buy them – price-be-damned.
Recently, I was not shopping for shoes when I saw the sister pair to my old brown Fryes: tall black boots with a buckle.
I looked at the bottom of the sole to find the price tag and sucked in my breath.
It’s always been hard for me to spend money on myself.
“You’ll have those forever,” said the well-dressed saleswomen who handed me an oversized white box.
I slipped the boots over my stockings and took a few steps.
Omigosh. They. Hurt. So. Much.
I found a chair and tugged them off.
“What do you think?” the saleswoman asked.
What did I think?
I thought only a crazy person would buy boots at that price that were that uncomfortable.
My old boots had been awful, too.
It had taken years to get them to a place where I could call them comfortable.
But they have been my signature footwear for decades.
So I held my breath as the cashier scanned my credit card.
Because they cost a lot more than they did in 1985.
And I brought them home.
And while my new boots look freakin’ awesome, I’m back to bloody heels and Band-Aids.
Right now, I’m faking it.
Pretending every step doesn’t hurt.
I have to believe that eventually these boots will be right.
Because sometimes having something worthwhile means enduring a little pain.
Ask a newly published author. Or any woman who has given birth.
Have you ever made an expensive purchase that you fretted over? What was it? How’d it turn out?
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This week the directions were to write a piece using the idea of money as inspiration — in under 450 words. I did it in 419.