When I was sixteen, my younger brother had a paper route. One morning, he wasn’t feeling so hot, so he asked if I would take it over for the day. I agreed and set out on my way. Like usual, in those days, I was late getting done what needed to be done. I believe I was on the last block of addresses on his list when a fairly old gentleman was heading out to his car.
Of course he reminded me that I was late, but failed to notice I wasn’t his “regular” deliverer. He had asked if I had an eventful evening and my reply was simply, “Sure.” He gave me a grin and said, “Boy, let me give you some advice… if you meet a woman with a pair of high heels, you’d better have a bottle of champagne ready. Now, if you meet a woman with a pair of boots, you’d better get out of the way… unless, of course, you plan on helping her to conquer the world. Son, you look like a cat who thought he could swim so I’m bettin’ you weren’t much help to her.” He giggled a bit and then instructed me to take a nap later. I never really thought much of him or his “insight” until years later…
Feel free to take a minute to get caught up if you haven’t already!
That Friday night when I first saw her, Ann was wearing a white, ribbed tank top with jean shorts, white knee-high socks, rolled down and a pair of black Doc Martens. Up until this point I had dated a few women who wore high heels and a few that wore boots. The ones that wore boots always had at least a couple pairs of high heels locked and loaded in their closets if the situation permitted. Not Ann, I’d come to find out later that heels and her didn’t get along at all!
I’ve spent most of this project describing the tender qualities Ann possesses. But like I said in Day 8, there was much more that was yet to be revealed!
Ann is not a tomboy by any stretch of the imagination. She is also not your typical glitter Garbo fashionista. Ann is tough. She’s military grade and you can feel it from across the room. She’s far from personal and extremely unapproachable, unless you’re lucky enough to have been invited into her circle. She’s what I like to call a “square shouldered girl.” She always carries herself with a confidence every person on this planet wishes they had.
Now, I do understand that such a portrayal is likely to be seen as a ruse of sorts and I’m sure it is with most… project confidence in the hopes to hide one’s own insecurities. Not with Ann. As I said earlier, I knew within three seconds of seeing her I would marry her, but I had to embark on a couple recon missions before I could actually approach her. That same night, I sat across the room and carefully, I assure you not in a creepy manner, watched her laugh and carry on with her friends. Not even five minutes into my information gathering session a guy walks up to her and says something. I was too far away to hear anything. What I did see would send a shock down my spine. Ann said something, turned away and the guy left crying! Seriously! The guy was actually crying!
“What is happening?!,” I thought. I kept my cool, gave myself a mini-pep talk and kept at it. About a half hour goes by and another guy goes up to her. This time I can hear him ask if she wanted anything to drink. Ann laughed in his face and then turned away. The guy was stunned, but proceeded to put his hand on her shoulder to get her attention. Wrong move…
Ann turns, stares at him with pure disgust and then doesn’t move. About two seconds later, two huge guys come out of nowhere, grab the guy and drag him out of the place. I was in shock before, but at this point, I was a little scared. Now I’m thinking, “What the Hell am I doing?!”Clearly I passed through the gates unscathed. If not, I wouldn’t be here writing any of this. While I’m at it, another night comes to mind, one I know you might find interesting.
I’d say about two months after we had been together we both went out over the weekend, ending up at the same place we had met. We were having a good time and she asked me to head to the bar and pick up her usual. I was gone maybe five minutes and when I came back, I met the toughest woman I, even to this day, have ever known.
This random guy had come out of left field and proceeded to ask Ann if she wanted to dance. Ann, being Ann, believes ignoring you negates your existence. He kept at it, being all obnoxious and whatnot, but Ann didn’t budge. I can remember her glancing over to see if I was there and then she gave me a look as if to say, “Stay out of it!” Ann is not one you want to argue with so I quietly stood back watching all this unfold. Ann then sharply tells “that guy” to move back; especially his hand or she’s going to break it. He laughs and continues his diarrhea of the mouth campaign. Ann tilts her head slightly to the side and gives off a quick sigh and then… she introduces the sole of her boot to the top of the guy’s hand.
The guys screams, “I think you broke my hand?!” Ann immediately replies, “I told you to move it.” Again, out of nowhere, two huge guys come over; grab the guy and his now slinky hand, dragging him off by the back of his shirt, never to be seen again. By the time the guy disappeared into the darkness, Ann taps my shoulder and asks, “Can I have my drink now?!” I hand her the glass and she continues on as if nothing ever happened.
Does Ann still wear a pair of Docs and has Ann “calmed down” over the past seventeen years? Yes, yes and I wouldn’t want to find out. Yes, she still has a pair of Docs in her closet. They are considered her “favorite” pair of shoes she owns. Yes, she hasn’t had to tell anyone to move their hand since that day, but then again, I wouldn’t test her, even if she was eighty years old and in a wheelchair.
I do think her no B.S. approach has made her a phenomenal mother. Lord knows our daughters think twice before squaring off with her. Hell, even I think twice before approaching that line! All our girls are A/B students and for the most part they are extremely well-behaved. I say, "for the most part," not because they haven’t been schooled in the ways of pure southern charm, more like they are all under the age of fifteen and quite frankly, no child at that age has completed their frontal lobe development.
I’ve learned in my forty years on this planet that a strong woman with unshakable self-confidence is sure to have a genuine heart. They are kind and their loyalty has no bounds. But make no mistake about it, their generosity should never be taken for granted, let alone mistaken for weakness. To do so would surely bring about an exceptionally painful lesson.
So in honor of every woman who refuses to accept anything less than what she knows she deserves, I present these boots. Every time I see a pair of Docs now, I can feel her strength consume me, removing any and all doubt that she is anything but my equal, compelling me to become a better man for her every day I wake. And most importantly, I see her, just as unconditionally as I did when I first laid eyes on her… almost eighteen years ago.
Size: 6 x 4 (inches)
Materials: 90lb Cold Press Paper
Frame: Mini Wooden Shadow Box with Glass (4 5/8"W x 6 5/8"T x 1.25"D)
Completed: Saturday, October 11, 2014
Artist: Adam Kiger
Represented By: Park View Gallery
Artist's Website: www.adamkiger.com
Who is Ann and what is 31 flavors of love?!