We were strolling along a quaint boulevard in La Jolla. “Those!” I exclaimed. “Those are what I want!” He looked at me in disbelief. “Not a ring? Not a bracelet? Not a commemorative piece of jewelry?” “No. Those are what I want. Right there.”

He followed my finger to the red cowboy boots in the window of the western wear shop. It was our first wedding anniversary. They were the only thing that caught my eye that weekend.

He bought them for me, somewhat reluctantly, somehow feeling a piece of jewelry would better memorialize our first year of marriage spent together. Yet they are almost the only thing I took from our time together when I left. After six years, I packed a suitcase and moved in with a girlfriend, ready to put our life together behind me.

I still wear them, 10 years later. I love the way I feel when I wear them, the click, click, click of the heels presenting me as especially sassy, especially worthy of the strut I exhibit when in them.

Until now.

I noticed the heels were wearing down. I took them to the local shoe shop to have heel taps put on. Little did I know that they would not only replace the heel taps, but the entire heel. With a plastic substitute.

I no longer click when I walk. Instead I hear the thump, thump of a synthetic material. They’re still my red cowboy boots. And I still enjoy wearing them. But I don’t feel nearly as sassy.

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