My heart broke in two.
Slipping a men's shoe off my foot, I felt my face grow red and looked to the amazing little kid with as much support as I could. I felt embarrassed by my silence.
I was a huge tomboy growing up. I cut my hair as short as I could, I wore denim tuxedos when I went to work with my dad on the weekends, whenever I played pretend I dressed in a suit and was a character named Jim, and on the daily I wore whatever I wanted on my feet. Saddle shoes were preferred but when the Reebok Pumps came out, there was no stopping me. My Pumps went with everything. And my mother happily obliged. Throughout all of the tragic fluorescent expressions of myself, my mother let me do what I needed to do. All of her acceptance and support came rushing at me while I replayed in my head what I had just heard.
I think what struck me most about the horrible interaction I saw at the shoe store was that mother's fear. She had a healthy, beautiful, engaged little boy. What was she so afraid of? That her son preferred a practical flat?
The shoes you wear can say a lot about you. True. But beyond the fashion, the style, the function, the completely ridiculous size test where a salesman presses on your toe, all anyone really wants is to feel is comfortable and supported.