The apartment door swung open, hitting the wall with an absurdly exaggerated smack. Joey walked in, sopping wet from the flooding rains outside. Having been roused by the noise, Claire stirred on the sofa, where she had been in a deep and peaceful sleep. Hastily rubbing the dribble of drool from the corner of her mouth, she turned her bleary eyes to the door and the disgruntled wetness that had passed through it.
Joey dropped his knapsack onto the floor beside him and swung the door closed, eliciting another thunderous bang as it returned to the frame. He took off his mop of a coat and hung it up on the hook on the inside of the door still dripping all over the entryway floor.
“Jesus fuck, Joey! You know what fuckin' time it is?”
Ignoring her, Joey slumped his way indelicately to a well-worn reclining chair sitting perpendicular to the sofa. With a grunt, he settled himself into the familiar seat.
Out shot the footrest, raising Joey's boot-clad feet to a more appropriate lounging height.
The old, bruised, and battered Timblerlands were more black than their signature tan at this point. The laces had been frayed and repaired with duct tape so many times that it was impossible to tell whether any of the original laces still remained. They reeked with the smell of 12 years' manual labor and 16 years of cigarettes. The bottoms were caked with years of mud, tar, and clay. The water running off of them onto the footrest and then the floor was a rusty reddish-brown. The floor underneath the footrest was similarly stained, indicating a long history of this treatment. Claire had bought these boots for a younger man, a man she fell in love with centuries ago.
Staring at him, Claire sat on the couch, left knee held to her chest, the other running the length of the sofa. She had toe separaters on both her feet and a bottle of Essie's "Starter Wife" color sitting on the coffee table near to hand. Her toe- and fingernails were carefully painted with this delicate pink, though a piece of tissue clung to her right pinky toe.
Joey rubbed his tired, lined face with his equally lined, callused hands. Sighing, he dropped them and reached into his breast pocket, fingering for a cigarette. Finding the bent pack of Camels, he extricated two, lit them both. One he passed to Claire.
Rising from the couch, she accepted it and bent to kiss Joey's cheek. He cracked a smile, laugh lines rising. She took his cap off and set it down on the coat rack, over his dripping coat. She moved to the kitchen and grabbed two cold beers from out of the fridge.
She gave him one and sat back on the couch. The pair drank in silence for a minute until Joey raised himself out of the overstuffed lazy-boy, his body creaking almost more than the chair. He stooped to kiss Claire briefly before shambling off into the bedroom to change his clothes and shower. Before he passed through the threshold, he kicked off his boots by the front door, leaving them in the modest-sized puddle his coat had created.
Without the frame of his feet, the boots sagged a little, though remained mostly upright, a result of years of holding to the same shape. They were sturdy, rugged, enduring boots. They were boots you were always comfortable in, no matter what you were doing. The boots represented a quiet understanding of how time wears on all things, though does not always break them. The boots had endured many years of hard work, and would not shy away from years more.