too many words by laura lemay

Dear Pink High-Top Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars

Dear Pink Chucks:

I bought you when I was a teenager. You were on sale at Filene’s Basement for practically nothing, because back then the only proper Chuck Taylor All-Star sneakers were red, white, and black. Chucks also were for boys, which explains why no one wanted you, the pink ones, and I got you so cheap. But I was a huge tomboy at the time, and pink Chucks were just the sort of cross-gender irony I thought was fun, so that was OK.

Chucks were for the weird kids, the wannabe punks and artistes and the Jonathan Richman fans. I had a crush on a boy in high school who was all of those things, with dark eyes and floppy hair, and he wore Chucks, black ones, high tops like you. There was that night we went out to the park at midnight and swung on the swings, the scuffed white toes of our sneakers pointing up into the moonlight as we swung. The boy with the dark eyes and floppy hair — Mark? Ben? Jason? Andrew? — told me he was excited to go to college, excited to learn more about art, and told me that I should listen to more Jonathan Richman. He talked so much about himself that we never got around to talking about what I was excited about.

I wore you with wool socks, leggings, miniskirts. I wore you with my leather jacket and studded bracelets and huge t-shirts. I wore you in all kinds of weather, although you really weren’t much good at all in snow. I painted an apartment in you, and the paint I splattered on you never scrubbed off.

I haven’t been able to wear you much for years now, because your flat soles provide no actual support for older feet, and you hurt. But I’ve kept you around in the back of the closet, and once in a while I pull you out and put you on. Like I did just now.

Dear Pink Chucks: You remind me what it was like being a teenager, and a tomboy, and you remind me of being a wannabe punk and artiste, and you remind me of cute boys with dark eyes and floppy hair. I had written this as a eulogy because I really had planned to throw you out this year, but now that it’s done I seem to have talked myself out of it.

You win, pink Chucks. See you again next time.