break up shoesBreak ups are hard.

And not just with the emotional side – all the pre and post break up consultation with friends. “Am I doing the right thing?” “Are you sure he’s not right for me?”

The actual logistics of a break up are a big deal. It’s got to be in the right place, at the right time, though in the moment, even in the most optimal setting, it never feels quite right.

I was dating a guy off and on for about a year. He and I just didn’t seem like we were going to last. I started mentally going through the break up process and enlisted my friends to help. I rehearsed my delivery of this message. I reminded myself why it wasn’t working out. But I needed something else. Something that would keep me on track when I went in for the big moment.

Shoes.

I would get special break up shoes that would be like my uniform, my heart breaking cape for the day. I would go in and come out a break up champion.

I went to DSW to find these shoes. I planned my break up for Saturday late afternoon/evening. I had plans with a girlfriend later so it wouldn’t interfere with my night or with my boyfriends possible plans for the evening. She and I were going to a concert so I would have to be wearing something kind of comfortable and sporty. And this would work perfectly because the one thing I realized about break ups is that once the damage is done, you’ve got to get out quick. In fact, one thing that can really slow you down in a situation like that, is laces.

Ideally, you want to go quickly from, “It’s not working out” to “I’ll see you”. Having to put your shoes back on at the door can really slow you down and make that moment awkward, especially if the recipient is angry or otherwise emotional.

I needed shoes that would be ideal for the dismount.

I found slip on sneakers that were smart enough to wear with a skirt. They were dark gray with some sort of intricate bungy system to tighten and loosen them. But once you got them on, you didn’t have to adjust them further. I practiced slipping them on and off, while standing. These were the shoes. These, were break up shoes.

When I got to his house, I just couldn’t go through with it. My girlfriend was actually picking me up from there for the show. It was a break up and run kind of plan. So when she called and I told her,” Come up and say hi for a minute”, she asked, “You didn’t do it, did you?” Thank god break up shoes are good for other tasks because they didn’t help me as much as I thought they would. Though in time, I got the job done.

And I really liked these shoes. In fact, when they wore out, just from regular use, not from break ups, I bought a pair similar to them. I liked having sporty slip ons. And they could come in handy for emergency situations like fleeing a burning building or just casually, like visiting a Buddhist temple.

Last winter, I began planning a break up. But then it snowed. A LOT. I picked the best day and time but I had to wear boots. Big pull on, lace up trek through the Arctic boots. After I had succeeded in my mission, it took be nearly 10 minutes to suit up and get these boots back on to leave. He just stood and stared and it felt like this part actually took longer than the talk.

The following fall, I was in the throes of my most meaningful relationship. The kind where you feel like it’s pretty locked in. Key family members are aware of the relationship. But he was becoming distant and I wasn’t sure if he still wanted to be in the relationship. I started thinking about a fresh pair of break up shoes. I didn’t want to be in something if it wasn’t working. And I didn’t want to be asked to leave if I had overstayed my welcome.

One Tuesday night, he came over to my house. I usually went to his so this was kind of special. We caught up on each others lives and things started feeling right again. I guess I was paranoid for nothing.

But then, he started in with the vague relationship statements, “I’m not sure if I can do this right now.” “I don’t feel like it’s fair to you when I’m away so much”. “Maybe we rushed in”. “I just feel like I’m hurting you”.

He was verbally lacing up his mental break up shoes.

I was caught off guard. I wasn’t usually the recipient. How didn’t I see this coming? I had nowhere to run. Though really, all I wanted him to do was stay.

After I had expressed my disbelief and a tearful storm of objections, he left. But right before leaving, he said, “Oh, I brought this for you” and left a piece of paper on the counter.

It was a $10 off coupon for DSW.

Very funny, universe. Now I could buy the break up shoes I had been meaning to get, but I had no one to break up with. And buying break up shoes after the fact, doesn’t even make sense. But more importantly, WHO breaks up with someone and gives them a coupon?

I just bought a new pair of break up shoes. When I explained my theory of break ups to the new guy, he shuddered at this purchase. Was this my lead in to ending it? I assured him it wasn’t. Break up shoes have just become an empowering accessory. I know that each relationship is my choice, both getting in and getting out.

And hopefully, someday, I won’t need them anymore.

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