You were curious as to why I was always barefoot.
"You're not the first, and definitely not the last person to ask that," I responded with a chuckle.
I would have given you a simple and to-the-point response... if one existed. Instead I motioned you to take off your shoes.
"No, you're crazy, what if I step on something sharp! The sidewalk is gross!" you said. I didn't know how else to explain it to you. I squatted down and began to untie your laces and lift your feet out of them.
"Trust me." I said, staring straight into your eyes. You let me take your shoes off and put them in my backpack.
"See, when you're barefoot, you feel the ground. You feel the Earth. It's a way to keep yourself grounded. You feel the gravel between your toes, the grass on the soles of your feet, and you become one with the Earth."
I took your hand as we began to walk.
"You have to be observant so you won't step on anything sharp. You begin to notice things you wouldn't pay attention to before. You notice the cracks on the street, the weeds that grow between them, the ants carrying their food on their backs, the things people drop, coins, pieces of glass, burned out cigarettes, dried out leaves, lost bottle caps."
I watched as you gently took each step, eyes glued to the floor.
" When I get lost in my thoughts, when I don't exactly know what's going up there, in my head, and I begin to wander off, I find that the only way to bring myself back to Earth is to walk around with no shoes on. It shows us how vulnerable we are. It teaches us to bring down the barriers and our guard disintegrates into the unknown. Stop protecting yourself so much. Battle scars teach us more lessons than caution signs. The body has the ability to heal itself for a reason; learn from it. Our comfort zone is only so big, eventually we'll have to grow out of it."