In one of my Batman comics there was an advertisement for, I think, the Vic20. Pictured was a boy my age, sitting on his bed, his sneakers on a small carpet near the bedroom door. The room had wooden floors and a cozy dignity. The boy was skinny, and he had straight brown hair.
One day in late August, my mother and I went shopping at Miracle Mart and when we came home I asked her: “Can I keep my shoes upstairs from now on?”
“In my room.”
“Why do you want your shoes in your room?”
I didn’t answer.
My mother said: “Shoes belong downstairs, on the family shoe rug.”
Then I said: “I’ll still take my shoes off at the front of the house, then I’ll carry them upstairs and put them on a towel near the door of my room.”
“No,” my mother said, “I don’t want you making a mess. Shoes belong downstairs.”
“But it’s my birthday soon!”
“Yes, and I’ll make any cake you want,” she said, “and also a special supper.”
But I didn’t listen. For a few days or maybe a week I snuck my sneakers upstairs to my room and put them on a towel by the door. I would sit on my bed and look at my sneakers by the door but still I wasn’t happy. Pretty soon I abandoned my plan and moved on to other things.
I didn’t know then that in actuality I was pining to be a different sort of boy altogether.
Anyhow, these days I feel much better, but I must tell you that I haven’t worn sneakers in more than 20 years!
p.s. Eastern Kingbird among the sumach, and then later the tansies