Literary Spotlight: Gwen Grace

Literary Spotlight: Gwen Grace

From WTP Vol. V #2

Boots and the Infinite Struggle of Attachment
Gwen Grace

I’m inordinately attached to a pair of boots. 

It’s been a long, albeit interesting year since I ordered them. Upon arrival, they were cut-out, sexy, black-leather perfection. They were promising.

Now, the leather is peeling and the dye has faded on the buckles. The soles are worn and the boots are beginning to lose their shape. They’re visual garbage, but as a whole, are exactly what they appear to be—a pair of boots. 

But it isn’t always this way. Many shoes parade under the facade of perfection, purchased for a special event, or as a daily accessory. Until one day, when you really need them the most, you come to find that the binding is unraveling, or the leather is wearing. Whether these imperfections are a result of oversights or lack of attention, you’re left in a tricky situation. 

These boots are no exception. In the beginning, they were like an unruly lover I was trying to persuade into a relationship. I knew that asking them to change was impossible. Instead, I settled. Coaxing my feet into their almond-toed perfection was both painful and tedious. They remained exactly as they were, whereas I felt the immediate ramifications of this mismatch. But still, they were attractive and convenient, and I was much more willing to submit myself to discomfort than admit my misjudgment.

Here we are, a year into the relationship, and they are already breaking down. Scuffed from wearing them in the rain, through muddy banks, up rocky mountains. There is a chip in the heel that documents my ill-advised decision to scale a seven-foot wall in a less than optimal state. Then there is a small discoloration on the left buckle from the time I decided to polish them with alcohol. 

This doesn’t disregard the fact that breaking something in isn’t the same as having something fit. Something that fits your general requirements, but fills you with nothing but pain (and vanity), might be better discounted as a sunk cost. Size is a relative term.

But maybe it isn’t finally about the size or even about the quality, so much as it is about the maintenance. Take a well-made pair of boots and subject them to my treatment, and they would’ve crumbled in a year too. Something that thrives in one aspect of your life won’t necessarily translate into your overall reality. It took me a year of countless calluses to realize that I finally wasn’t content—I didn’t have to settle. Favoring familiarity is human, but it doesn’t have to be final.

Gwen Grace has been writing for over six years, specializing in prose and poetry. She recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in marketing and a double minor in Spanish and creative writing. She is currently based in New York City, where she is working as an Omni Buying Assistant by day, and writing an anthology by night. 

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