I went on my lunch break Thursday to the shoe store, looking for some orange or green Converse All-Stars. Low tops. They didn’t have any, so I ended up with a pair of black ones. I wore them to work (I almost typed typed "school" which tells you how long it’s been since I last had Chucks, not counting the couple of pair that my little sister gave me when they got too small for her) on Friday and by lunch time my feet were numb. It’s not the shoes, it’s my feet. They need a little more support.
I came home and took them off, stretched my poor toes out, rubbed my arches. The shoes aren’t too small. In fact, they’re a half size too big. Maybe I just tied them too tight? Anyway, Lex saw me and said Hey, Mom. Nice Chucks. New? I said yes, but I thought I couldn’t wear them. I looked at him. At his feet.
Want them? I asked. He did and they fit. We compared our feet. They’re the same size. Exactly. I thought about when he was a baby how I’d just stare at his fingers and toes because they were so impossibly small and perfect. The nail on his pinky toe was almost too little to touch. Now he’s big and perfect and wearing my shoes.
When I was probably fifteen I showed up at my grandparent’s house in black high top Chucks. My grandfather let out a whoop when he saw my shoes. He played college basketball in the 1930s and they all wore Converse. He was so happy to see that kids still were wearing them fifty years later.
So, yesterday as Lex tried on the shoes, jumping, running, seriously stomping the ground, I got a little teary. He’s so big. My grandfather, and probably all his teammates, are gone. I have these great memories of him sitting in front of the tv on his coffee table bench, slapping his knee when someone made an impossible basket. He would point and yell at the tv when guys jumped up and hung off the hoop, Look at him, HANGING from the basket! I’m not sure if he thought it was sacrilege or was just remembering when he could do that, too. Not that he would.