I wasn't always living the barefoot lifestyle when I was a kid. I never liked wearing anything on my feet, but in the beginning my barefooting was limited to inside and around the house. On occasion I would venture out barefoot in the streets of our neighborhood, but not in stores or other establishments.
My little brother Kevin has never been a barefooter. He would go barefoot inside the house as its the norm here on the islands, but once he stepped outside, even like to the backyard, he would wear Crocs (those shoes with holes on them), his favorite footwear.
When we were kids he loved to play and hang out with me coz he said I was the nicest of all his siblings. He was kinda scared of Tania as she used to be mean to him. You see, Tania used to have lots of issues as a child and could be nasty at times, but through a sequence of events, she managed to make a 180 degree turn. Today she could be Tony Robbins' assistant, haha! Kudos to her! Even mom has a lot of respect for her now.
Steve and Debbie were nice but their a lot older and often busy with school, so they very seldom spent time with him. I'm the closest to him in age (were like 18 months apart).
Tania and I always got along well, though even during her rough years. We shared a bedroom and always went to school together riding the bus. One time she went on a school retreat, and mom didn't want me to ride the bus by myself (I was 9 at the time), so she decided to drive both Kevin and me to school although we went to different schools. Kevin really enjoyed having me with him in the car to and from school.
He said I looked really cool in my school uniform which consisted of a dark brown plaid skirt, a white shirt with the school badge on it, a dark brown tie, and an optional dark brown handkerchief that stuck out of my shirt pocket. Yeah, my uniform looked really elegant and I really liked wearing it too. I would often leave it on for a while even after I got home and took off my shoes and socks.
One day after school we were both sitting in the living room. I was barefoot but still in full uniform, and was playing with my phone. Kevin was looking at me like in fascination thinking that I didn't notice, but when I looked back at him he quickly looked away. Then I asked him nonchalantly, "Kev, why were you looking at me?"
He was like, "uh...no I wasn't!" and he quickly picked up a magazine and flipped through the pages. I giggled and he became even more nervous.
Feeling bad, I later said to him, "hey Kev, why don't you come sit here next to me!"
He was a little stunned and was like, "uh...why?"
I told him, "coz I wanna show you this really fun game!" He hesitated so I said, "come on, your gonna love it!" After a while playing games together he was finally at ease.
Let me digress and tell you a funny story. Well, maybe not really that funny.
One day we had relatives visiting us and one of them casually asked Kevin who his favorite sibling was, expecting him to say it was Steve our oldest brother as he's the only male sibling so they figured he would relate to him most. But to their surprise he said it was me.
When they asked him why, he said, "because she's the nicest, she's never mean, she plays with me a lot, and also because...she's very pretty!" and he giggled a little. He said it all with such purity and innocence but everyone was kinda shocked to hear it, especially that last part.
I overheard the whole thing as I happened to be sitting in the library right next to the family room where the conversation took place. I wasn't really shocked, though coz I had sensed it already from the way he sometimes acted when he was with me (read above), but I was surprised he told it to others.
Well, he later learned that I heard all he said to the relatives, and he freaked out. He was sooo embarrassed that he refused to talk to me or even come near me for days! Everytime he saw me he would run away embarrassed which actually made me sad. He wouldn't even go to the tent, our favorite hang-out place (read below).
So mom finally intervened and told him that he did nothing wrong, and there was nothing to be ashamed of as he only spoke nice things about me. It took him a while to overcome his feelings, but we gradually became close to each other again. Even today he still blushes when he remembers that incident.
Since we were having so much fun playing games together, we decided to do it again the next morning on the way to school. So he and I sat together in the back seat (normally one of us would sit in the front). Since we were in a hurry I decided to put on my socks and shoes later in the car. But as we were so busy playing games I totally forgot to do that.
So we arrived at my school and I realized that I was still barefoot! Mom scolded me for not putting them on earlier as there were lots of cars around, and we couldn't stop too long in front of the school.
She just went on and on, so as I was stepping out of the car I said to her, "mom, chill! Or your gonna grow lots of gray hair!"
She barked, "hey, how dare you talk to me like that!" But by then I already shut the door, and I giggled and made faces at her as I ran toward the school entrance. Kevin was grinning in amusement.
On the way home I took off my shoes and socks in the car wanting to feel comfortable. But mom decided to stop at the grocery store. Ok, so...what was I supposed to do? It was too much of a hassle to put my socks and shoes back on, but it was too hot to wait in the car.
So I asked her if I could just go into the store barefoot (now this took place after the barefoot sisters* story, so I was already starting to go barefoot in stores and such). But mom vehemently objected.
She scolded me the second time that day, saying I was still in uniform and it would be totally inappropriate to go barefoot in public, and I shouldn't have taken off my shoes so fast. She later relented and said, "well, you don't have to put your socks on if you don't want to, just wear your shoes!" I was like, "yay!" that wouldn't be all that bad. Btw, this happened shortly before they dropped the socks requirement as told in the barefoot at school** story.
While Tania was gone Kevin wanted us to sleep together at night. I had a queen bed but my room was off limits to him as it was practically Tania's room too, and he didn't want to have anything to do with her. But his bed was a twin which was not big enough for both of us to sleep in.
I told him I could bring a sleeping bag and sleep on the floor in his room. He said he should be the one sleeping on the floor. So we were arguing back and forth, and dad heard us, and he came up with a brilliant idea. He said, "since your both willing to sleep in a sleeping bag, why not do it outside in a tent!" We happened to have a 2-person tent which was perfect.
We were excited beyond belief! Imagine how much fun we would have camping out in the backyard. So dad set up the tent in the backyard near the pool, and we had a fantastic time together. I would often read stories to him although he said he liked it better when mom did it since I sounded like a little kid! Duh! We also played lots of games and ate lots of snacks. Even in the daytime after school we would hang out in the tent and do a lot of fun stuff.
Kevin had a meltdown right before Tania came home. He said I would go back to Tania and wouldn't spend that much time with him anymore. We wouldn't be going to school together, and we would say goodbye to our tent. He was crying which made me sad too.
So when Tania came home we made a deal - I would sleep in the room with her from Monday to Thursday, and would sleep in the tent with Kevin on weekends (Friday to Sunday). That actually worked out pretty well. Everyday after school he and I were still able to hang out in the tent. And we both always looked forward to the weekends.
Ok, here's a funny story. Like I said, Kevin always wore his Crocs outside the house. So in the beginning he would wear them even to the tent. I told him to just leave his shoes at the door and walk barefoot to the tent. He refused, saying he wouldn't want to get his feet dirty again after washing them before bedtime. Yeah, mom taught all of us this ritual of washing our feet before going to bed (sigh!), and being a good boy, Kevin was always obedient.
I told him we didn't need to wash our feet before bed when we were sleeping outside. Besides, his feet wouldn't get that dirty just from walking barefoot in the backyard. He wouldn't listen, so one Friday evening I decided to hide his Crocs. Yeah, I was the nicest and was never mean, right? Lol.
When it came time for us to go to the tent he was frustrated as he couldn't find his Crocs. He strongly suspected that I took 'em and of course, I denied it. Then he said. "I'm gonna tell mom and she's gonna twist your ear!" Ouch! Yeah, that was mom's favorite method of punishing her naughty kids. But would Kevin have the heart to let that happen to his favorite sister? :p
I laughed and said, "go ahead, tell her! You can't prove that I took your shoes!" He screamed in frustration.
Then I grabbed his hand and tried to drag him to the tent while he was barefoot, telling him not to be a sissy. But being a boy, he was actually stronger than me. He resisted and I failed. He was going to get another pair of shoes, so I told him, "forget it, Kev! Your making it very difficult. Either you come with me now or I'll just sleep in my room tonight, and you can do whatever!"
Well, that got him thinking. And more frustrated. Desicion time! Sleeping in the tent was a big thing for him, but he would never do it by himself. So he finally said, "ok, I'll go now" and begrudgingly walked towards the tent in his bare feet.
When we got into the tent I said to him, "now that wasn't really that bad, was it?"
He admittedly said, "no, coz the grass is soft. It wasn't like that time when we went barefoot to the mall and resterant where I stepped on a lot of stuff that hurt my feet." (Read Barefoot Sisters*).
I laughed and pulled out his Crocs that I had hidden in there. Once again he screamed, "aaargh! I knew it! Your the one who took 'em!"
"So...are you still gonna tell mommy?" I teased, already knowing the answer.
He was quiet for a few seconds and then pouted and shook his head. I giggled and told him he should learn to loosen up. Well, he eventually gave up his "hygienic" habit.
Btw, all this happened prior to the embarrassing incident above, so he apparently overlooked it.
Dad took down the tent at the start of the rainy season (the winter months) for we wouldn't want to sleep outside when it was raining hard. Besides, the temperature can go down to the 60s at night which is a bit chilly. Then dad bought Kevin a queen bed so that both he and I could sleep in his room comfortably whenever it was raining or too cold.
This went on for a couple of years and we enjoyed it very much until it came time when we both agreed that it was no longer appropriate for us to sleep together. The backyard near the pool is still our favorite place to hang out today although there's no longer a tent. Yes, Kevin still goes barefoot there but that's about the extent of his barefooting.
Today we are very close and open with each other like best friends. He often comes to me for advice on life issues (since I'm older and wiser, lol). He doesn't currently have a girlfriend and likes going places with me and make people think I'm his gf. Yes, even when I'm barefoot.
We both know he likes me in more ways than one - my positive attitude, my playfulness, as well as my physical attributes. So we set boundaries and there are certain lines we never cross. We love each other as siblings and best friends. He told me he wished to have a gf with my qualities although he wouldn't be too disappointed if she wasn't a barefooter, haha!
I told him, "don't worry, one day you'll find her, but you've gotta look and can't be too shy."
Thanks for reading. From paradise Hawaii this is Sharleen reminding you that life is magical. So...
Aloha, and have a magical day!
**Barefoot at School