I’m in Payless Shoe Source with my 6 year old trying on his first pair of tie shoes.
He doesn’t know how to tie bows yet but I’m hoping these new Converse-style kicks will inspire him.
Jeb pulls the tongue of the shoe out and wrestles with the laces while Erasure’s “Chains of Love” bleeds out over the shoe store sound system.
“…come to me, cover me, hold me, together we’ll break these chains of love…”
The synthesized sounds take me back to 1986, when I was 15, wearing Keds and listening to Yaz. That summer my friend and I met Marcus, the older boy with the long ponytail who chewed Big Red and drove us around in his Audi listening to “Upstairs at Eric’s” at high volume.
Back at Payless Shoes I tie Jeb’s bright white laces and put a thumb to the toe to check for space.
“How do they feel? Do they feel like they fit?”
He nods and smiles.
“…they used to talk about the weather, making plans together, days would last forever…”
I’m 36 now, on my knees in the size 1 aisle listening to Vince Clarke’s keyboards in a whole new context.
“…don’t give up, don’t give up now, together with me and my baby break the chains of love…”
We buy the shoes.
And when we get home – I can’t believe it – Jeb ties them on his first try.