When I was 22, I moved across the country to San Francisco. My best friend from high school had moved there after college, and I was so excited to join her in this new city. She was like a sister to me for many years, and I was ready to embark on an amazing experience that we would share. A few months later, we had a huge falling out, and it completely turned my world upside down—the world that was across the country from everything I knew. It was the first time in my life that I felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness, and I had the hardest time shaking it.
Then came Bart. I had met him through this friend, and we hit it off immediately, spending our Sunday afternoons in the Castro. We drank coffee at Cafe Flore, shopped in the second-hand stores, and laughed our heads off together. On one second-hand store visit, I found a pair of vintage Fluevog boots that must have been owned by someone whose feet were identical to mine. Every time I put them on, I marveled at how well they fit me. Nearly 20 years later, these boots remind me that even in my darkest moments, when I am thrown completely off-center, I have it in me to regain my equilibrium, and I have amazing people in my life to help me right myself. The Fluevogs make me think of Bart’s infectious and irreverent humor, his signature “mesh” fabric, and his incredible spirit. He was so accepting of me at a time in which I was so painfully unsure of myself. Bart has been through so much since those days, and yet, his spirit shines brighter than ever. Bart and I “fit”—just like the boots.
Post-divorce, in my new home, I have my Fluevogs sitting out for me to see everyday. Bart is now in L.A., and I am back on my native east coast, but his friendship is one of my most cherished. One glance at those boots takes me back to Sundays in the Castro at Cafe Flore. They are a symbol of the strength that I have within me, and the strength that I have through the remarkable people whom I love, reminding me that you never know when you’ll find someone who effortlessly “fits.”