We have walked beside each other for nearly fourteen years. You have admired most of the shoes I’ve worn along our journey. The sparkly exciting shoes of new romance, the adventurous shoes that have traveled the world, and, most of all, my sturdy shoes – worn while tirelessly fighting for your troubled son, keeping our family together, and showing you the light when you couldn’t see it.
I have several sturdy shoes, but these boots are the sturdiest. I outwore them when you went your own way, when your responsibility for your son dissipated and you chose to replace family time with your friends from the bar.
This time, instead of buying a new pair of sturdy shoes to follow you and find a common path, I walked in ugly shoes that will forever be part of my collection. Regardless of their outside appearance, they stank on the inside. I assumed you no longer cared which shoes I wore and that you didn’t notice the smell. When I wore them I felt free of the responsibility I carried for so many years.
I had an affair for one and a half years. It started with an intimate conversation, thrived on shared interests, and led to a physical connection. It ended, not because I had the strength and discipline to walk away, but because I saw the true face of my lover when I got pregnant by him.
When I came to you and told you, I was sure our paths would never find together again. After a week of separation, it was you who hugged me and told me we could find a way. You assured me that our love was strong enough. We embraced each other and cried. I love you. I always have, even when I was unfaithful. I never wanted to walk away from our relationship, but away from the person who felt she was suffocated with responsibility.
To find a common path, I let go of the one thing I wished for most in my adult life: a child. I sacrificed my 7-week old fetus to break all ties to a man that cared neither about his unborn child, nor me.
After surviving the darkest time in our marriage, more than two years later, with you by my side, I gave birth to our wonderful daughter who we both love unconditionally. We are caring and loving to each other. Our relationship has never been as strong as it is now. We are a team, as parents and as partners.
Nonetheless, the ugly shoes are still in the closet and you bring them out once in a while to remind me of the past. They are an indisputable part of the journey we have walked to bring us here.
Author has chosen to remain anonymous