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Part of Me Is Homesick for a Place That Never Existed

·392 words·2 mins

Today I cried because the tip of my right shoe split open. My reaction took me by surprise. Wasn’t expecting that.

The trouble is that they aren’t just any shoes. No. These funky slides were given to me by my niece the last time I visited Maine during Christmas 2019. (Maine is where I grew up; I moved away as an adult, first to Ohio and a few years ago to Texas.)

They’re technically slippers. And they’re so cute. They remind me of colorful patterned shoes I wore in junior high. (Those are long gone of course.)

True, they’re one size too big — size 9 instead of 8. I believe 9 is my sister’s shoe size (my niece’s mother). But they were perfect for walking around my apartment complex to take out the trash/recycling and pick up the mail. Just streetworthy enough to meet a delivery person on the sidewalk next to my building, something I’ve done many times.

Yes, I had to shuffle sometimes to keep them on my feet because they’re slightly too big.

But I loved them. And they worked great.

Anyway, I’m incredibly upset that they’re starting to fall apart. The intensity of my emotional reaction surprised me. I’m generally not someone who cares about objects. True, I have dealt with housing instability in my past. Have survived extended periods of crushing poverty. I tend to be thrifty because of that.

But I’m also the opposite of materialistic. I tend to be very practical. And I have other pairs of shoes so it’s not like this actually matters, the fact that these slides are falling apart.

So it’s curious that it hit me so hard. It’s a mystery.

If I had to guess, I think maybe it’s a reminder of how hard it is sometimes to be so far from home. Maine was never my favorite place to be. I had a lot of rough times growing up there. Never really felt like I fit in with the rest of my family. All of that.

It’s honestly weird to miss a place you never loved being and where so many painful things happened. But part of me does.

Part of me is homesick for a place that never existed — a place I really could have used a long time ago when I was little and helpless.


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