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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Perfect Fit

by Janie Van Komen

I buried my shoes in the backyard when I was seven years old. I hated those blue leather corrective shoes. What I really wanted was a stylish pair of black Mary Janes.

The next morning my shoes, caked in mud, had mysteriously appeared on the front porch. My mother told me to clean them off so I could wear them to school. Nothing more was ever said about the matter.

My feet have rebelled traditional fit and sizing since they showed up here in mortality attached to the ends of my legs. Hence, I have to practice stress relieving zen exercises prior to shoe shopping excursions for myself.

On one such occasion I headed to an outlet store touting the ultimate in shoe comfort and wearability. I found a pair of shoes that fit like a dream. Could it be that I’d found the perfect pair of shoes? I scrutinized them several times to be sure.

“I’ve never had such a successful shoe experience in my entire life,” I told my husband later that night.

Two weeks went by and one morning I set my shoes up on the counter next to my sink while I dressed. Reaching for my shoes, I noticed something was wrong. I picked up one shoe and then the other. Although the shoes were exactly the same style and brand, one shoe, it appeared, had khaki green leather insets and the other one had khaki brown. I looked inside where the size was stamped. One shoe was a size 7 and the other one was a 7 1/2.

How could I make such a mistake? Or was it a mistake? This was the best fitting pair of shoes I ever bought. The shoe angels must have been watching over me.

When I showed the shoes to my husband, he suggested that I take them back. It was an obvious mistake and the store should make a correction and give me a refund, or at the very least a new pair of shoes. “You can’t go around in mismatched shoes,” he said.

“Why not?” I said. “If I’ve been wearing them for two weeks and nobody has noticed, who cares?”

I wore those shoes for six years until they fell apart. Best pair of shoes I ever had.

Copyright 2005 Janie Van Komen