My husband is not fond of my slippers.
They are unisex, well-worn, grey slippers from the Gap, circa 1993. Their brown leather laces refuse to stay tied and their matching underbellies sport bald patches. “Pathetic” is the term he uses to describe them. I’ve test-driven others, but somehow can’t part with my go-to grays.
I bought the slippers one Christmas, with a matching set for Mark. We’d been married just over a year; I thought it was romantic.
“I don’t wear slippers,” he said upon opening them, shattering my newlywed notion.
Mark’s pair are long gone, I suspect he pitched them when I wasn’t looking. Conversely, mine have enjoyed unusual longevity. I find them irreplaceable, akin to a toddler’s teddy bear or proverbial blankee. They have pacified me.
My grays have kept my feet snug during many a northeastern winter and have served as late night buddies during Mark’s two decades of travel. With them, I am not alone.
Now molded to my size 7 feet, my slippers have carried me. I shuffled in them during middle-of-the-night feedings for my children and sought refuge after hours in heels, celebrating milestones.
I grabbed them after my father’s Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis and when my mother had something suspect removed.
I even slipped them on after my husband’s promotion, when he was wasn’t home to celebrate. These wool felt slippers have transcended traditional footwear — they’ve remained intact, guiding my steps during times of both hope and distress. I’ve scaled life’s staircase in my cherished grays.
To Mark’s dismay, I brought my slippers on a recent weekend getaway. We’ve been married twenty-three years.
“I can’t believe you still own those, just get rid of them,” he said.
I shuddered at the very thought; they were nearly appendages. His words, though harsh, prompted me to take a second look. My slippers were lackluster after two decades of loyal use, like a grandmother’s tired, but beloved, housecoat. I bargained internally and contemplated a makeover. Maybe new soles could salvage my feet-mates? Or, perhaps, taut laces and fresh inserts? I decided such surgery would alter my slippers, robbing them of their super powers.
Caught up in a shopping frenzy, I recently ordered a new pair online — a camel suede number with woolen insides. For 70% off. I wanted to be part of the hype, but after clicking “purchase,” I ached with guilt. Was I abandoning my longtime companions for a mere discount? Was I tossing aside my treasured grays for an emotional affair? Would the new pair be comparable to a “work husband?” How could I be so disloyal? The verdict was in; I was slipper cheating.
The newbies have arrived amid my bevy of impulse buys, but I’ve yet to open them. I’m not sure I will.