Last week I wrote about the abundance of running shoes I brought home from Portland. I have been wearing a different pair each time I head out for a walk or an errand.
Earlier this week, I was outside wiping off my car windows (to be able to see to drive to work) when I saw a young woman walking up the street. When she smiled and said hello, I realized it was Sierra.
I have known Sierra since she was two or so. Her family lived across the alley from us when the boys were growing up and she and her older brother Cory were regulars in our house and backyard. Sierra recently moved back to Delaware with her fiancé and is again in the neighborhood.
Sierra came up our driveway and ogled my shoes—the fluorescent yellow-green pair. She had just priced a pair similar to them.
I told her my shoe story and her eyes widened. "Lucky!" she breathed. Then I told her my shoe size.
"That's my size!"
"Come in and try these on."
So as Warren waved goodbye and went off to work, Sierra sat in the living room, pulled off her old shoes (hand-me-downs from her mom), and pulled on the fluorescent ones. She wiggled her toes and smiled.
"Go outside and walk a bit," I said, the mom in me kicking in. I had to restrain myself from kneeling down and kneading to see where her toes were as I had done so many times with my boys when they were little.
Sierra obeyed. when she came back in, she was smiling. "They're perfect!"
"Take them. They're yours!"
"Really?" With a hug and a radiant smile, Sierra was out the door and soon striding away, her step quicker and lighter.
My son Sam was always like that when he was little and received a new pair of shoes. He was swiftness itself, knowing the new shoes had some magic in them. Sierra reminded me of that.
There is a Ray Bradbury story, "The Sound of Summer Running," in which a young boy negotiates the acquisition of a pair of tennis shoes from the local shoe store. The proprietor makes the deal because the boy convinces him of the speed of a new pair of shoes:
Mr. Sanderson leaned forward. “How do they feel?”
The boy looked down at his feet deep in the rivers, in the fields of wheat, in the
wind that already was rushing him out of the town. He looked up at the old man, his eyes
burning, his mouth moving, but no sound came out.
“Antelopes?” said the old man, looking from the boy’s face to his shoes.
The boy thought about it, hesitated, and nodded a quick nod. Almost immediately
As I watched Sierra walk away, gazelles and antelopes bounded with her.