I couldn’t help myself.
I was looking something up online and I happened to come across the advertisement that included a picture of the shoes, a pair of tan blucher moccasins, the kind of shoe that I loved when I was in college. I soon found myself placing the shoes in the site’s shopping cart and a few seconds later punching in my credit card number.
When I buy things on the web, I’m usually pretty restrained. I comparison shop and put a lot of thought into what I’m buying, but not this time. I didn’t care that I might be dating myself quite a bit or even that I might not have anything to go with the shoes. I went on instinct. I guess this is a good spot to explain that when I was in college I loved blucher mocs. I loved how I looked in them and how I could wear them anywhere, class, a lecture, to hang with friends, it didn’t matter. I would wear them forever until they were so beat that they looked like I stole them from the trash can.
I had one small problem. The shoes were expensive and I didn’t have a lot of extra cash. In particular, I remember my sophomore year of college. I was broke. My bank account was running on fumes. I had used up all the money that I had earned during the summer, plus most of the money that I had loaned for college, to pay for my tuition. I had very little left over for my weekly expenses, forget about upping my wardrobe game. I was working two jobs in between my classes — freelancing for my hometown newspaper and washing dishes in my dorm cafeteria — and had pennies left over.
My mother was working hard in her own job, but I remember telling her my sad story about wanting a new pair of shoes, but not having the money. I’m not sure why I told her. I regretted telling her the minute the words came out of my mouth. I felt like an ungrateful wretch. I had sneakers; I was fine. Despite it all, when she came to visit me a few weeks later, she took me out for dinner and to pick up a new pair of the shoes.
I couldn’t have been happier, but a sliver of guilt hit me as I watched her drive away. My father and her weren’t rich and needed every cent they had. I told myself that my mom wouldn’t have bought the shoes if she didn’t want to and made a promise to myself to be appreciative of her gift.
So when my shoes came in the mail last month, I ripped open the box with anticipation. I tried them on and then put them back to wear on Thanksgiving Day. They looked and felt the same way I remembered.
Of course, after finally wearing them I went back online and made another purchase. This time I didn’t order bluchers or any other shoes for that matter. Instead, I went online and ordered a bouquet of holiday flowers for my mother. I’m sure she’ll be surprised when she gets the flowers, but she deserves the best.
Now if I could just fit in the rest of the outfits that I wore in college, especially my old jeans, with a size 32 waist, then I would be really set. For the time being, I’ll settle on the bluchers and, most important, my memories.