In our twenty-five years of marriage R has owned three pair of dress shoes. Five of the six shoes are in good shape, one has a permanent dent from spending a year underneath the corner of a wooden crate.
The first pair was a gift from me “it is traditional for the bride to give the groom something to wear at the wedding” I announced soon after learning his intention to wear his catering shoes. I have never wanted to fundamentally change R, I have periodically asked him to visit the sartorial edge of his comfort zone. For our wedding I didn’t dress him in designer Gucci shoes. I chose Timberland — an outdoor brand. Earthy dark brown, slightly suede shoes.
A few years later we went to buy a suit for R to wear to my sister’s wedding. I left him in the hands of the salesman and wandered off. When I returned R was standing on a pedestal being fitted for alterations. “Nice Suit!” I exclaimed looking at the tag, “it’s Armani!” R put on his puppy dog face and asked “can I get it?”
R was soon an Armani owning man, looking good. I asked him what shoes he would wear. “I’ll wear the ones from our wedding” he answered. “But those are brown, your suit is black” I said, as if he would understand the horror. “No problem”, he says “I can make them black with a magic marker.”
There is a certain freedom in living with someone who would wear magic marker shoes with his Armani suit. He’s the person who can get you and your broken van out of the forest by hose-clamping a wrench to a bent tie rod. The one who will build a playhouse in the backyard, the one who will take you snow camping.
More than simply seeing options I couldn’t imagine, R sees no barriers, his path is clear.
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