My friend is getting out of my car, on her way to an appointment.  She looks down at her hands.

“Shit!  I didn’t mean to wear these!”  She’s sporting huge, black mitts, meant for snowmobiling.

“You can have mine…”  I start to offer her my gloves, then pull my hands back.  I’m wearing some gloves I received as a gift.  They’re an eye-watering shade of lime, nothing I would have picked.  But they were the right weight, so I grabbed them and put them on that day.  I know that everyone who’s seen them on me was thinking I was stuck in the Hypercolor early 90’s, that I have no sense of style, that I have no sense.

“You don’t mind?  These gloves are GREAT! ”

“Oh, you don’t have to say that, I know they’re ugly.”

She looks at me, not quite knowing what to say.  Smiles.  Opens the car door.

“I think they’re nice.”





Back to school shopping is fun.  Unless you’re poor.  When I was 8, I knew how much groceries cost, how much a phone bill was, how much money it cost to fill the tank with gas.  And I knew we rarely had enough.  We were in a bargain basement, clearance type store.  My parents found these shoes.  Green.  Suede.  Five hole lace-ups.  I knew that the other girls in my class would have hi-tops, with velcro closures, pink and blue accents.  And I knew my parents didn’t need a scene.

I was going to make my parents believe I liked these shoes.  I was going to make them believe I was quirky, and these weird shoes were exactly what I was looking for.  I was going to make them believe that being the odd-girl out was who I wanted to be. 

We bought the shoes. 

Grade 3 was the year of the Great Shoe Trade.  Puberty hadn’t hit, all of us girls were basically the same size, we’d never heard of athlete’s foot.  The swap would go down at recess.

The first few times, I made excuses.  Had to go to the bathroom, teacher was calling me.  Couldn’t put my shoes in the circle.

But one day I couldn’t get away.  I slipped them off, and waited.  Waited for someone to say “I’m not wearing those snot green things!”

One of the girls dove in, plucked them off the top of the pile.

I slipped on someone’s white Adidas.  Looked at the girl who had my shoes.


“You don’t have to wear them.  I know they’re gross.  You don’t have to be nice.”

She squinted at me, cocked her head to one side.  Shrugged.

“They’re neat.”




(Image is Green Sneaker by Terry Bain)


15 responses to “Green

  1. Haha, those are sweet stories…. sweet and mysterious. Was girl from 1983 the friend from 2009? If so that sounds like a good friend 😉 Yes, back to school shopping did suck when you were poor.

  2. great story. and i would totally wear green suede shoes

  3. Great story, Ginny. When I was reading about the green gloves all I could think was *I’d wear that.

    One great thing about going to Catholic school over public (I’ve done both) is we wore the same thing every day at Catholic. All we had to have was a decent pair of shoes and people had no idea how poor we were.

  4. Green is my favorite color, so I probably would have grabbed them as well.

    Growing up, my folks had three of us to buy for, and money was always scarce. So often, grandma would buy essential stuff like coats, gloves, and shoes. She never quite got the size right . . .

  5. being a little kid can be hard… and i’ve found that the little, sensitive kid still hangs out inside this old, crunchy exterior. we are who we were…. love the story.

  6. I had no excuse for bad fashion. I just have a horrible, horrible taste in clothing. Really.

  7. Oh, and then that whole thing about one man and his trash and treasure and whatnot. There you go.

    And even if the trash/treasure axiom isn’t applicable, then hey, lovely friends.

  8. Clearly, green is the most important colour there is. I also had a green shoe fetish to go along with my ruby slippers fetish. I had a green suede pair of air walks, like doc martens except they only went to my ankle. They were ugly, two sizes too small, and I loved them, loved them, loved them.

  9. I once found a pair of pink jeans in a discount store that I wore almost every day of 7th grade. I did not care what shoes or shirt I wore with them, I simply loved them and…somehow…believed they loved me back. That’s probably why I actually felt amazingly sexy when I wore my horse poop covered muck boots to a meeting and dinner last night. Ohhhh baby!

  10. There’s always somebody who finds ‘neat’ what you find ‘gross’.

  11. I’m wearing green runners right NOW.

    Granted, they cost like 85euros to fashionably look like crap, but meh.

  12. Chad: Nope, two different people. The girl in 1983 wasn’t even really a friend.

    nursemyra: I’d be all over those shoes now.

    Kitty: There were rumors in Grade 8 that our school was going the uniform route. No one else understood why I was so disappointed when it didn’t happen. There’s an all girl’s junior a couple of blocks away, with uniforms. I’m putting the 2 year old on their waiting list NOW.

    tysdaddy: Thank goodness for grandma. 🙂

    daisyfae: That was exactly why I wrote this: I was so shocked that the little girl was right there, under the surface.

    Rassles: I haven’t done any better, even after I had a wee bit of money. I keep waiting, waiting, waiting for Stacey and Clinton to ambush me, take all my clothes, help me start again.

    Em: And I bet you ROCKED ’em!

    mongoliangirl: Black pleather pants I got for $3.99 from the deep, deep, deep discount section of the Sears catalogue. I felt so bad-ass. And hot. (They didn’t breathe)

    cdv: It was hard to believe that in a microscopic town (the entire school, K-12, never had more than 130 kids).

    Xbox: That’s the sick thing: If you put those same shoes in front of me now, at a hundred times what we paid for them, I’d snap those bitches up.

  13. Nice writing Ginny. I love the then and now self-awareness aspect. Subtle.

  14. you were a way better kid to your parents than i was.

  15. Michael: Thanks. Cause you know me, I’m all about subtlety…. 😉

    bluestreak: PLEASE don’t be misled. This was an isolated incident. I was a right little brat 6 days out of 7.

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