by Tina Portelli

Some people eat when they are stressed out or depressed. I buy shoes. Such good soles.  Nothing makes me feel better than buying a new pair of shoes. Can't say that's true for my toes, squeezing them into this new restrictive leather space with no room to wiggle. If I am lucky enough to find a pair I must own, I will buy them in every color whether I need them or not. In my own shoe collection, my ratio of black shoes is 10-1.  You can have more blues than you need, never enough black shoes.

When I complain to my friends that I can't find the "Mate", they instinctively know I am not referring to a man, but the mate to my "must have" sale shoe. How upset I get with that sales rack, which teases me with the perfect right shoe, the perfect price, the perfect fit, then hiding my left mate. There is no better feat than to walk away with that special buy on my feet.
We all have our favorite pair. No matter how worn out they get, we do not want to part with them, so, into the shoemaker they go for the tenth time.  If shoes could talk they would be screaming  "Please, no more surgery, pull the plug."  Unlike my relationships with men, when shoes get too comfortable, I tend to keep them forever. It's the men I toss out.

My good friend treats her shoes really well. Every time she purchases a new pair, she will take a photograph of the shoes and paste the photo on the outside of the shoebox.  This shoe library saves her time in finding the right pair for the day without disturbing the others while they rest. Sandals; there are some people who just don't get it, don't respect sandals. Pantyhose with sandals, socks with sandals? I don't think so. And if you are bravely baring your feet, pedicure please.

At $80.00 to $100.00 a pair, sneakers become keepers. We will wear them till death do us part. Sneakers have become so fashionable, we now call them running shoes or cross trainers.  They are so fashionable and hi-performance, hadn't we known them as Keds for $5.99 just a few years ago?  The real difference between them, the price!  We are losing more money than we are losing weight. Paying for color and air bubbles!
Shoes for the blues, works every time, on sale or not.

Never a loud noise or harsh word did the husband speak to the wife. She adored him and was at his beck and call for everything. My eyes saw
that they really adored each other. What a wonderful thing to witness. They would kiss each time he left the house and always on return.
I remember cold winter mornings, her putting his socks on the radiator to heat them up before he got up for work.  They would be nice and warm,
ready for his cold feet to slip into. Orange juice was brought to his bedside ready for his dry lips upon awakening.
She would iron his cotton underwear, tee shirts and handkerchiefs. Who does that?  She took joy in preparing his bath, making sure he had a clean set of underclothes ready and waiting. Clean towels, new soap.
Dinner would be on the table at 6:15 PM, waiting for him as he arrived from work each day. As our family sat around the dinner table, we would not pick up a fork until he started eating. No one left the table before saying, "May I". It was a quiet respect for the head of the house.
He never demanded or even asked for this special treatment, he hardly spoke a word. She did these things for him because she wanted to.  Pleasing him pleased her. She was a giving partner, yet feminists today might accuse her of being the victim of male dominance, with no real life but being an ordinary wife.
He loved her and was devoted to her for as long as she lived. Who was this smart woman?
My Mother.

Simplicity of March

All I want to do is...
Arms positioned like a windshield wiper, wipe away the unclean white fog and see the Hudson River emptying into the ocean. And absorbing the mist that falls like cold sweat on my upper lip and cheekbones.  

Slide my wet sneakers across the too-tall grass, kicking up sprays of water, like quarters plopping into wishing fountains. The grass that has yet to be cut since it sprouted from the yellowed frozen soil in March. The tall grass, growing fuzzy grain tips, that catches dewdrops like beads on a necklace. 

Poke my finger, like a guilty puffy-cheeked child into the clouds, and make it rain.

I always feel inspired by rainy days. I love the anticipation of the first rain. And the anticipation of the sun peaking through at the tranquil moments after it stops raining. I love the fresh laundry-and-grass-stain smell after it rains. The irony of the two scents melting in the chilled air invigorates me.

Last weekend, even with the anxiety of the AP Calculus Exam building up, I still found time to sit on the dusty white lawn chairs on my terrace with my feet propped up on the matching white table. I was humming Pachelbel's Canon in D quite loudly, competing with the shy songbirds. How I was "studying.”

I walked through Freedom"Park" on Abbot Blvd. The strip of grass that we Fort Leeans refer to as a Vietnam War Memorial, which cuts between the town's long rows of mansions. There was also a long row of weeping cherry blossom trees following the mansions.

The pink blossoms that I saw in full radiance the week before were fallen and scattered all around the tree in a loose pink layer, 2 inches deep. I kicked the petals around, upturning soil onto the immaculate flowers that more or less floated to the ground, and wouldn't have touched the soil otherwise.

When I was satisfied and a little sad, looking at the ugliness I created, I picked two perfect blooms from the untouched parts of the pile and stuck them in my shirt pocket. But I had to be careful on the way back, because if you hold one of the stems of those fragile flowers and twirled it between your thumb and index finger, the petals would fly off like a catapult. And you'll be left with nothing but a tiny green star on the stem. The flowers were gone, after only a few weeks of living.

The rest of the week was still foggy, rainy, dreary, wet, but I love the peace it creates.

Tina says, "I am 54, single and live in Brooklyn, NY.  I work in Manhattan as a full time office manager.  My writing is a newly found passionate hobby. I get my ideas from personal experiences and the adventures of family and friends.  I have never taken a writing class, but three years ago I started practicing meditation.   I attribute my newfound passion of writing to that practice, meditation gave me a clear and open mind.  No better friend than the soul of my pen." Contact Tina.

Click here to add text.
a Women Writer's' Showcase