Editor’s Note: Remember the good old days of blogging? We do. Quite a few writers and editors who have passed through Tweetspeak’s doors (or are still here) first began as personal bloggers. Many of these writers have let their blogs go dormant, changed directions towards a professional aim, or deleted their blogs altogether. So, there’s a whole stack of intriguing, inspiring, sometimes humorous material that’s just sitting in the dark. The Life Notes column is dedicated to bringing that material to light. Because, after all, each of us comes from the stories that made us. And these stories often shine in the retelling.
An L.L. Barkat blog post, October 11, 2010
I’m pulling shoes out of boxes.
“Try these on.” White and blue sneakers, black shoes with silver-beaded rosettes, brown shoes with faux brass buckles. Fancy shoes, walking shoes, boots. Shoes to show off. Shoes to run and jump in.
She has her eye on the dragon-scale flat sneakers, but I’m focused on other pairs. Push, pull, zip. On, off. Next, next, next. I keep handing her new options (and remember vaguely how my mother said it used to take me hours to choose shoes when I was a child). She’s on the floor, trying, trying.
Looking down at her small fingers, brown hair shiny-tangled, I try to smile. But I feel impatient.
“Not like that,” I tug a boot zipper, push its flap inside. The pop music is too loud. “I am so done here,” I tell her.
I pick up the yellow box with the useful sneakers, turn to go.
“Can I try on the dragon-scale ones too?”
“Sure, sure. Try them on. Why don’t they have laces?” I pull them off the shelf and look inside the shoes to see if the laces are hidden inside, undone.
“That’s the style,” says my daughter.
A saleswoman passes and I ask, “Where are the laces for these?”
“That’s the style,” she says.
My daughter laughs a soft laugh. She wants these sneakers, but they are loose without laces. We buy pink sparkle ones. She frees them from plastic and tries to put them on the shoes before we pay.
“Do it in the car,” I tell her, looking down. She’s fumbling with the laces, and I don’t want to wait. (Credit card, signature, bag the boxes. I am so done here.)
When we walk outside, she says, “I couldn’t breathe in the store.”
“It was the music,” I say. “Too loud.” She leans into me, and I pull her close, put my face in her hair.
At home, she laces the dragon-scale sneakers. The useful blue and white pair never make it out of the box. All night she wears her sparkly sneakers in the house. She knows she can do that, because they are still clean. When I go to tuck her in at bedtime, the sneakers are near her bed, where she can look down at them and smile. The laces are marvelously, outrageously pink. They lie open and ready for tomorrow.
It is quiet here, and I feel like I can breathe.
Featured photo by Jes, Creative Commons, via Flickr. Post and post photos by L.L. Barkat, author of Molly and Joe Want to Know: The Tongue Twister Secrets of B
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This book is so much fun! I used it with about 10 Kindergarten and first graders who are labeled as “at-risk,” (I like to call them my promising students), and we had a blast reading the poem and doing the activities. The poem produces giggles and conversation, and the activities are easy to prepare and fun to complete! Plus, I love that I can use the activities over again. This is a must have in a teacher’s classroom.
—Callie Feyen, at-risk literacy specialist