It only takes a little bit of lace to ruin a marriage. Julia felt bad that her shoe laces kept coming undone, causing her husband, Curt, great distress. He was determined to reach the next hut on the Appalacian Mountains Trail before most of the goodies left inside the huts were gone.
His impatience was wearing on Julia’s nerves, and she was slowly realizing that maybe it was time for them to walk solo, both on hiking trails and in their lives. She was emotionally exhausted from the constant criticism of how she laced up her boots, on top of all of the other micro-aggressions about how she cleaned house, especially as he never helped, or the way she wore her hair.
It only took a few moments to retie her boot strings, so what was the big deal, anyway? Why must they stick to such a grueling schedule that didn’t allow them enough time to enjoy the scenic views around them? Each time she stopped to retie her laces, she saw such beauty and listened to the symphony of animal and bird songs that touched her heart and made the trip worthwhile.
She said to him, “Just one more complaint about my shoes and I will leave you at the next town. I will catch a flight home and I won’t be there when you’ve completed the hike. I mean it! I am tired physically and emotionally, and this hike was meant to draw us together, not to tear us apart!”
Curt stared at her, his mouth agape, not having realized the immensity of her distress over his comments. She had never even complained, just tied her shoe laces and continued to walk, so he just assumed that all was well. Yes, the shoe strings were nearly giving him a heart attack, and it showed in his tone and the words he used. But, he had no idea things were so bad that she would threaten to leave him.
He looked down at the ground, and of, course, the first thing he saw was that her shoe strings were loose again on her left foot. Taking a deep breath, he slowly bent down on his knees, took her left foot in his hands, and tied the laces with a double knot that his father had taught him that guaranteed the laces wouldn’t come undone again. He tightened the laces, also, to make walking easier for her. Then, he took the right shoe in his hands and retied it, although it wasn’t loose, but just to tighten it, too, and keep it from coming loose.
As he rose from the ground, he was startled at the view around them. In his hurry to hike this trail in record time for him, he had forgotten the peace and tranquility of the forest that drew him to hiking in the first place, and that it was at a hut on different long-range hike where he had met the beautiful Julia.
He said, “I am sorry, Sweetheart! Forgive me for my insensitivity! I got caught up in setting records and forgot that what we both love is the quietness of these walks that allow us to really be together, releasing the stressors of our jobs and just enjoying each other’s company and the beauty around us. But, I love you, and I thought that telling you of your faults was helpful, but I see now that maybe not so much! Stay with me and let’s finish this walk together and all of the other walks we may take in the future, please!”
She was flabbergasted that he would humble himself and bow down to tie her shoe laces for her. What an act of love! She thought that maybe we do need to let people know when we are being hurt, rather than just hold it in until it explodes and so much joy potentially lost. So, with a big hug and a sensual kiss, she thanked him for the laces tied and for seeing her distress, grabbed his hand and said, “I love you, too! Let’s keep moving, together!”
Fictional story written for First Line Friday from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie: It only takes a little bit of lace to ruin a marriage.