The boots you bought me for Christmas by Hannah Grieco


On our 293rd day at home, I pack a small bag with three pairs of underwear, my jeans, your soft sweatshirt, and I pull on the new $37 DSW boots you bought me for Christmas, tell our kids that I’m going to the store, yell “I’ll be right back,” but after starting the car I take a breath, pull into the street and drive, not to the store, but past it and down the road, through the three stoplights to the highway, where I take the west ramp and thirty-seven miles later the loop to Route 70, arguing out loud with myself, should I have gone north instead, taken 80, but 70 is the fastest, a straight shot to Denver, and so yes west, west until the Rockies, then north, up through the wind that shakes the minivan, rattles the car seat I keep forgetting to tighten, and back down into Wyoming, stopping in Cheyenne at that little boot shop, leaving the ones you gave me on the front stoop by the trash can, in favor of snakeskin, maybe red but probably brown, and from there to Lander, where there is a foot of snow on the ground and the streets are deserted but I find that tattoo parlor again, the one I couldn’t afford to go into seventeen years ago, but now with our credit card that you haven’t canceled yet, you still waiting, watching my receipts as I go, a trail of gas stations and fast-food restaurants and cheap motels and blank spaces after I take money out of our checking account and pay by cash for a couple of days, then your relief at my breakfasts at McDonalds in towns you’ve never heard of, and after the tattoo, the one of our kids as birds flying away one by one, I lay sore and quiet on the hard bed, the dusty bedspread making my nose run, wondering if that guy at the parlor gave me Covid, wondering if I’ll make it to Yellowstone to see the wolves like we talked about, wondering if the park is even open for visitors right now, wondering if this will open your eyes, if you’ll see that I left not because of a virus, or depression, or the kids, but because I needed to curl up alone in bed wearing boots I picked out myself.

Hannah Grieco is a writer in Arlington, VA. She is the cnf editor at JMWW, the fiction editor at Porcupine Literary, and the founder and organizer of the monthly reading series ‘Readings on the Pike’ in the DC area. Find her online at and on Twitter @writesloud.

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4 thoughts on “The boots you bought me for Christmas by Hannah Grieco”

  1. Pingback: Short Story Sunday – Coffee and Paneer

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