Weekends in fall are reserved for many things earthy and sweet. This one brought proper clothes shopping for Lucas (we’ve started to call him Luke) and Abigail. While I was away, Phil had emailed me photos of them. And I replied, not with "how cute" or "adorable," but "creepy, they need new clothes. He looks like an accountant, and she looks like a ragamuffin." So, off we went, shopping list in hand. Cable knit sweaters (ooh, or those Irish knotted ones), brown thick corduroys, tweed dresses with leggings, footsie pajamas and faux fur boots. Speaking of boots, we ventured to Nordstrom on our way to Janie & Jack (my all time fave) to stop at the shoe department for Phil. Nordstrom, aside from offering free alterations and piano music, has a half-decent shoe department. It’s no Neiman Marcus Last Call, but it will do. Shhhhh, don’t tell. Identifying a Lacoste sneaker with a velcro strap, Phil said, "Look, Izod," then asked the salesman if they had it in his size. We sat and waited, and my period cramps were appreciative.
"I need socks" Phil explained as he walked toward the stock room following after the associate. Little did I know just how much. If it had been a scene in a movie, you might see me wince. Had it been "You’re a Stinky Cheese Man, Charlie Brown," there would’ve been a brown cloud of dust rise to bitch-slap me across the face. But this was real life, and that, right there, the indescribably rancid smell that bordered on vinegar and smelt roe, simply had me draw in a deep breath from over my shoulder. Then I held it, as if I were in a car, passing a cemetery, believing if I held my breath until we were a safe distance away, I’d have good luck. Phil began to laugh, that laugh you can’t help. That moment where you’ve smelled up a room and not only do you know, but you know the people around you know it. He laughed until he couldn’t breathe. Add some serious insult to injury, this was no ordinary salesman. He was old school, sitting on his leather measuring of a stool, pulling stuffed knots of paper from the shoes, wiggling the tongue. He was right there, that close, to the enemy.
Already in the process, Phil swiftly pulled on the "communal socks," wrong on so many levels, and attempted to push his way into the shoes, hoping the quicker he was, the closer he’d be to containing his offense of a foot. Phil looked at me, giggling like a school girl. I bowed my head, shaking it as if my child had just smeared a dookie across the teacher’s desk. The associate asked if it felt right.
The shoes didn’t fit but the moment did. This is what makes life memorable. Now go bust a pit on someone you love.