Over the 4th, I gave away a considerable amount of Z’s stuff. It was mostly easy to figure out what went with whom. Especially with books and stuffed animals. There seemed to be something perfect for each of her cousins. Even the smalls got books that were held onto and she managed to retain a stuffed animal that was just right for each personality.
I didn’t mind giving the things away. Mostly because I knew either I could give the things she loved to those that would love them and, in turn, keep that spirit alive OR I could let her things wither away in her bedroom to collect dust and let the memory in the things fade to nothing.
I chose to give the things more life. A life with someone new. More love and joy. More memory and, by way of transitive property, more of Z spread into the world.
All my love went into the bags and I sent them into the wild.
The one thing I had a problem with was her archery shoes.
There was both nothing special and everything special about those ridiculous shoes. Bright blue and yellow, they were not made for wall flowers or the shy among us. We shopped for archery shoes at the Gaylord discount warehouse shoe store and they were chosen for their merits in both personality and budget.
They were also the only gift I took back from their first box and put them into another. I’d put them with all her other footwear intended for my neices. My sister thought my niece (and my love) could use them for an upcoming sporting season. I was hesitant to give them away for a non-specified sporting passion. Which is super weird because I brought several other boxes of sundries and notions that were freely available to be picked through and chosen from. Jewelry and purses and clothes and shoes and bubbles that I was ready to let go.
The archery shoes caught my breath. And I’m not really sure why.
Z only wore the shoes in a gym. Never outside. She practiced and competed in them and then changed out of them for her regular life. She held her breath and calmed and centered herself in those silly looking shoes.
My niece could have used them for volleyball. Or gym. Or any other sport. But I needed them to be something more than athletic shoes. I needed them to transfer her spirit and power to another sport of equal intensity and calm.
I mean, the entire thing is so… pedestrian. Why would I so freely give up her daily life shoes and her boots and her sandals but not her archery shoes? They were of equal importance in her life. She had as much enthusiasm for hiking The North Country Trail as she did for Olympic hopefulness.
It was me. It was my projections. I transferred the feelings onto those blue and yellow shoes.
In the end I gave them to Z’s “sister from another mister”, another girl with whom she shared a weird connection in sport and fandoms and free-spiritedness. They were too far apart in both age and geography to be BFFs, but they were tight enough in spirt and shine and we all knew their connection was true and lasting.
And that’s how the archery shoes became fencing shoes.