A re-post from August of last year, when the air was fresher, the bank books were blacker, and friendly Russian immigrants were concerned about my choices in footwear...
A sturdy man with a sturdy Russian accent is walking toward me.
“Hello. Hi. What size shoe you are wearing?”
I look around. It is as it appears. This man is talking to me.
What the heck.
“Seven,” I say, “Seven and a half, depending on the manufacturer.”
A short man with hair like a thatched roof and a nose like a potato, his eyes sparkle. “Come,” he says. “Italian shoes. Your size. Very cheap.”
What’s that, comrade? Cheap shoes?
I leave the book section and follow him through the aisles of the local Savers, a building stuffed with donated clothing, household items, and immigrants.
There, amongst the battered and abused footwear, is a pair of Roberto Cavalli heels.
Well, I’ll be.
Excitedly, he hands them to me.
I hold them up. The leather is like butter; the heel, sublime. They appear to have never been worn outdoors.
“Try! You try!”
I take my shoes off, balance on one foot and then the other as I put them on. It’s exciting, and I am reminded of a much earlier version of myself excitedly trying on a rabbit-fur coat at a garage sale.
That coat? It was 40 below at one point, and I was toasty warm.
But finding these shoes? Here?
Better than that coat.
The Russian beams. “Very good quality. Very good. I see shoes. I see you. I say to myself, there is voman who must to wearing these shoes. They feet?”
Do they feet?! Of course they feet!
“They’re exquisite,” I say.
“Yes!” he says. “Exquisite. That is word. You take. You buy.”
“You don’t want them? Maybe for a woman at home?”
He winks at me. “Voman at home, she is having feet like wooden boat…”
We both laugh.
“I’m sure she has lovely feet,” I say, feeling I should defend her. He nods quickly. Of course, of course.
I buy the shoes. Twenty dollars.
Riches around every corner, that’s what I always say.