Heart and Sole

When the school telephone number pops up on caller ID at 10:30 in the morning, my stomach does a little flop. If it is 8am, it means someone forgot their binder. No problem. If it is noon, it means someone forgot their lunch. No problem.
If it is 10:30 it is most assuredly a problem. I answered the phone bracing myself for the worst. Sickness. Discipline problems. Academic problems. I was ready.
What I wasn’t ready for? Drew’s small voice at the other end of the phone saying, “Hi Mom it’s Drew. My shoe broke so can you bring me some shoes?”
Broke? Glass breaks. Hearts break. But shoes? I had a million questions racing through my head but somehow instinct told me I was never going to get an answer that made sense. So, I broke the silence and said I would bring some tennis shoes over as soon as I could. Drew immediately began to protest saying it was a formal uniform day and that tennis shoes were for PE only.
Drew has a way of following the rules only at times that are the most inconvenient for me. For instance, when we have five minutes to leave for a baseball game and we can’t find his hat. Instead of just wearing one of the 35 St. Mary’s hats we have accumulated from a decade in the league, he must wear the one they issued him at the beginning of THIS season. The only one that is not in the box in the laundry room.
Because Drew’s foot is bigger than everyone else’s in the house, the idea of him borrowing shoes was not an option. So, I called an audible and decided to run to the Payless in the neighborhood and grab a pair of shoes for him. He was going to need new ones come Tuesday for school anyway.
I arrived at Payless determined and possibly a tad testy as I was still in my pajamas finishing up a phone interview for the paper when Drew called. Just throwing on running shorts and brushing my teeth was more than I had planned on accomplishing before noon.
The clerk smiled brightly as she readjusted the BOGO sign in the window and began to rattle off her spiel. I interrupted her with one word… “MENS”
She scurried over to the wall to my right in answer and then left me alone; presumably in search of nicer shoppers.
I found a pair of shoes nearly identical to the ones that Drew had on when he left at 7:45 that morning with one sole that had loose stitching. You see the condition of the shoes was not a total surprise to me but we only have two weeks of school left, I really thought we could eke it out.
I swiped my card, smiled by way apology for my behavior and tried to explain my situation as the credit card gods processed my purchase. It was the clerk’s turn to look completely disinterested as I fumbled my way through my story chuckling for emphasis. She stared at me blankly and handed me a pen. I scribbled my name and imagined her loud “hrumph” as soon as my exit was signaled by the door chime.
On the sidewalk, I glanced at the wine bar situated next to Payless. Normally drinking wine outside the Hallmark and Payless and sucking in exhaust from the parking lot held no appeal for me. Yet, today I totally would have slugged down a glass before heading off on my mission of mercy. Thankfully for Drew, it was closed.
Once at school, I hunted Drew down in the Art studio and everyone I passed seemed to know of his plight. It is a small school and a mom–who may or may not have combed her hair before arriving– roaming the halls with a big shoebox draws attention.
When I walked into art, a cacophony of voices alerted Drew to my presence as I pulled out the shoes. Drew hobbled over to me and removed his old shoes.
All the knowing glances I received on the way to find Drew had not prepared me for the reality of how broken his shoes really were. Remember when that British guy tried to hide a bomb in his shoe on the airplane? Well, Drew’s shoe looked like he had tried it as well and succeeded. The entire sole was gone and all that remained was a huge, gaping hole with threads dangling along its perimeter. The other shoe had suffered collateral damage with the sole peeled back along most of it so it flapped like a flag in the wind.
I pursed my lips together and shut my eyes to contain the thousands of words that fought to escape my mouth. Drew sat down in the middle of the art room among the paints, markers and classmates and put on the new shoes. He looked so happy and grateful there was no way I could really harass him. A literal tour-de-force of restraint on my part.
He came after me as I left the classroom with the old shoes safely inside the now empty box. He apologized for breaking them and thanked me for coming to his rescue and ran back in to finish up art. That’s the thing about Drew, despite all appearances, his soul is just fine.

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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

WordPress.com

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Magnificence in the Mundane

Finding humor in kids and chaos

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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