Jason Reed knows boot-camp: Entry # 17


Jason Reed is new to our site, and did not even need a full 500 words to tell a complete story. I do hope we will be hearing more from you, Jason.  This is a story that perfectly captures the intent and spirit of our contest, and, by the way, so well written.  Nuanced, and with power–the two are not mutually exclusive.  We have a number of combat vets who visit here who will certainly connect to this story. (Russ?  Dante? Ed? Fred?) Still time for others to enter our contest: https://awordwithyoupress.com/?s=high+heeled+sneakers

walking a mile in someone else’s shoes


The weight of them was too much; I had no need for steel toe anymore. They hurt my knees when i walked, this isn’t a place that required a steel plate under my foot. Truth be told they were not comfortable with the high ankle support and laces that wrapped around. I stared at the old tan boots and wondered why i never choose to put on the newer pair that was right beside them. The answer was simple and complex, i knew that the new boots fit me much better now and would help me heal, but these had protected me and traveled with me when nothing else had. I slid my foot into the new shoes and thought about the past, what if i had worn these while deployed down range, in Kuwait? Would i have made it back? Then i look over at the old boots and see the scratches and tears in the leather. Maybe but not the same. I slide my foot out and back into the safety of the past and feel the laces tighten around like a shield and a hug at the same time. As i stand i feel my knees start to give that standard pain that i have grown to expect as i hear my sons young voice calling from the other room asking for my attention. I sit back down. I slowly start to unlace my protectors and partners that i have known for many years and adventures. I slide my feet into the unknown as i hear my son calling again. I tighten the laces and it’s not the same. There is no protection here, no comfort of the past, and no history. As i stand i groan expecting my knees to cry out like always but its not as severe. My son is getting impatient calling from the other room, as i look at my past sitting on the floor. I pick up my partner from the past heading to the room to meet my son. He is dressed and ready to play. I put my old friends in the trash and regret it. I can’t stop thinking about running from danger, and how they protected me, until i hear my son call again and we go outside to play, walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.


Rudyard Kipling’s poem about boots, boots, boots–moving up and down again

One thought on “Jason Reed knows boot-camp: Entry # 17

  1. Miryam says:

    Welcome to the site Mr Reed!
    Very powerful……. reflecting as you looked at your boots, the pain of your knees…..”the weight of them was too much”…. I took this as the pain of your past was too much, causing pain within… You captured it all with perfection! I appreciated how you concluded with “putting your old friends in the trash” as you proceed to focus on the call from your son to play.
    Painful memories are so very difficult to deal with in life, but the real power is moving beyond… You displayed this in your story beautifully Mr. Reed. Please keep writing!
    Thank you and all those that have served to protect the United States of America. You are all heroes.

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