Thursday, July 14, 2011

It's All in the Shoes

Mitch picked at the worn hole on the side of his generic Walmart tennis shoes.  He’d had them for six months now, but as they were the only pair of shoes he owned, and they were cheap quality, they were quickly falling apart.  And now when he felt nervous he would pick relentlessly at the hole, in hopes that they’d wear down even faster.  He hated these shoes.  They were a symbol of his inadequacies, his inability to fit in with the other kids, a blaring siren of all the things he couldn’t have.  What he wanted, more than anything else, was a pair of Nike Kids 6.0 Mogan 2 Jrs. in the dark grey/wolf grey/high yellow combination.  They were the best skater shoes ever.

If Mitch had those shoes, he knew he could finally do a half-pipe without wiping out, he just knew it.  His feet would breathe as one with his board, his body would follow, and he’d no doubt impress Suzy Campion with his wicked skills.  He’d been after the half-pipe for months now, even waking up in the wee hours of the morning to sneak off to the park and practice before the other kids were even awake.  In the dark hours of 5 am he was cloaked in shadows and anonymity as he practiced, over and over.  His body was constantly bruised and tender, and he often had scrapes on his arms and legs, but he wasn’t about to give up. 
During school, it was torture to spend long hours listening to teachers droning on and on about irrelevant subjects, when he should’ve been out practicing.  He didn’t care about math or about science.  These things didn’t matter.  What mattered was the board.  So Mitch didn’t feel too bad one day when he found his legs propelling him across school grounds in the middle of the day instead of to his history class.  He hopped the bus and rode across town to the mall, and no one said a word to him about why he wasn’t in school.  Even when his heart was screaming the further he rode, he didn’t turn around.  Thoughts of consequences whispered in his mind, “What if you get caught?” which he obstinately ignored.  

At the Roseland Mall Mitch jumped off the bus and headed through the doors, slightly giddy as he jumped and tried to touch the tops of the doors with his fingers.  Drat.  Missed.  One of these days he’d be tall enough to hit every time.  Riding on the escalator, he observed the weak crowds of mid-day Wednesday – the mothers pushing whiny toddlers about and the elderly couples mindlessly walking in circles like old racehorses on a walker.  On the second floor, Mitch headed down the familiar hallway until he saw the welcoming, beaming blue and white sign.  Finish Line.  He didn’t see any of the rows of athletic shoes that beckoned.  He had tunnel vision.  He only had eyes for the Nikes – their soft black and grey and yellow tones pulling him, calling him in.  Mitch picked one up, rotated it with admiration, and breathed in the sharp scent of new rubber.  He had to have them.  He was already breaking the law by ditching school.  What would happen?  What would happen if he put them on and just walked?

“Can I help you?” spoke a deep voice poking through Mitch’s reverie from over his left shoulder.  Mitch put down the Nike with great reluctance, and slowly turned around to stare up at the tallest man he had ever seen.  

This week's Red Dress Club prompt -  
One of my favorite parts of summer is THE SHOES. So for your prompt this week I'd like you to write about your character (or yourself) and a pair of his or her shoes.
Those shoes can be real or symbolic, they can hurt or be super comfy but I want to see what they say about the life of the person wearing them. It's a chance to use all those descriptive words I love reading.


23 comments:

Shanda said...

Oh...sounds like fun. I will have to join in on this one!

texwisgirl said...

nice job. perfect tunnel-vision teenery!

Jill said...

You are such a talented writer. You always leave me wanting more.

Sally said...

Beautifully written, Lisa. Made me want to buy Nike's for some boy like Mitch.

Valerie said...

I love this Lisa! I could really feel Mitch's agony-wanting the the shoes so badly, and telling himself that everything about his life would be perfect if only he had those shoes "a pair of Nike Kids 6.0 Mogan 2 Jrs. in the dark grey/wolf grey/high yellow combination." (Great colors!) I'm just glad the tall clerk was there to save Mitch from himself:)

Tiggeriffic said...

You are a clever rabbit in your writing ability.. I love it~! ta ta for now from Iowa:)~! You know you should be writing a book.
I enjoy reading everything you write...
Have a Blessed Day! ta ta for now from Iowa from Iowa:)

Andrea (ace1028) said...

This line is fantastic: "a blaring siren of all the things he couldn’t have"

I will say that reading that first line and seeing the word generic made me think it was an adult. I don't think a kid would say generic, I think he'd just say/think Walmart shoes.

Also, at the end, who is Max? Was that a typo? I think I know why! ;)

I loved this. I thought it captured every aspect of his character, his mind, his thoughts and being. I thought the way you walked us through his journey away from school, and why - you were in his head and I loved it. Great piece this week, Lisa! Hope we get more about Mitch and watch him grow some!

blueviolet said...

What? I can barely stand that it stopped there!

Grumpy Grateful Mom said...

Your writing skills are excellent! What a fun character--based off anyone you know?

Have you thought about writing a book?

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Oh! No! It doesn't look like he will be getting his shoes!

le Chef said...

Oh my sweet Mary in a pickle jar ... I think you just wrote about my husband. Only he wanted the running shoes. The man is an absolute diva when it comes to his shoes.
When he finally tried them on ... hated them.

"His feet would breathe as one with his board, his body would follow ..." I had to laugh. Had to! I don't think men ever outgrow the dream .... LOL

Ginny said...

What a good writer you are! You drag us in, now I want to know the rest!!

Chris said...

Very enjoyable and readable, you're stories.

Won't be long until you're on the bookshelves me thinks!

Leontien said...

great piece! And i'm happy you kicked the habit too!!!

whoohoo for us! ;-)
Leontien

Chatty Crone said...

You left us on the end of a cliff!

A Quiet Corner said...

Great work as usual, baby Girl! Love the ending!!...:)JP

The Wife of a Dairyman said...

Love the story....and I'm with you, summer's all about the shoes!

Vikki @ She Has Cute Shoes! said...

Can I buy that kid those shoes? Please?!

:)

Loved this. A lot :)

And right on the last line I felt myself shrinking and looking up with him. Really well written. :)

Jen said...

Oh, I felt bad for Mitch, even though he was about to break the law. Good job with the prompt!

Galit Breen said...

You totally and completely captured show desire! -Love-

Eric said...

I really enjoyed the energy in this. I feel like Mitch is easy to relate to and memorable.

CDG @ Move Over Mary Poppins! said...

Still stretching your wings, I see. Teenagers are tough, and a boy, no less.

Love him, with his sneaker tunnel vision, apparent slack against devotion to his sport--a devotion no one sees.

He's great.

And the tall man's more than a little intriguing.

Lex the mom said...

I love the perspective you give the shoes. In his eyes, they would absolutely make Mitch a better skater. I'm sure that is truth in his mind.

I almost wanted him to take the shoes. Too bad the skyscraper guy had to be nosy!