Boots

Hot pink cowboy boots.

They were like a car wreck. I didn’t want to see them, but I couldn’t look away. Amidst the shelf of children’s rain boots, and brown and tan western boots, and black paddock shoes, the pepto-bismol boots looked grossly out of place.

I spotted them at a trade show. I’d already bought plenty of practical gear — riding gloves, a riding jacket and some clothes for the kids. But I kept passing those infernal pink boots. And as much as the nauseating hue turned my stomach… as much I loathed the glitzy stars that flickered with each step…
…I knew that Hadley would love them. I handed over my credit card.
Maybe they won’t fit. Maybe they’ll give her blisters, maybe she’ll hate them, I thought when the package arrived. But as I lifted the cardboard lid, Hadley’s eyes lit up. She looked like Indiana Jones recovering the holy grail. 
She slipped her feet inside and did a little dance.
After that I stalled her for a couple of days. When it snowed I told her that it would be a shame to get her new boots wet. And then it was the mud. You don’t want to get them muddy, I cautioned. Reluctantly, she wore sneakers.
But this morning she dismissed my lame claims about frost and mud. She was wearing the boots, dammit.
“But today is pajama day,” I reminded her. “You’re supposed to wear pajamas to school today.”
“So?”
“So you can’t wear pajamas with cowboy boots!”
“Why not?”
Because the boots are ridiculous enough without pjs, I wanted to say. Because you’ll look like a freak
But I couldn’t say that. Besides, this is Hadley. Fashion-forward Hadley. She doesn’t care. 
At school she got out of the car, slung her tote bag over her pajama-clad shoulder, and marched up the sidewalk. 
Boots blazing.