Any attempt to take a picture went by the wayside. The chair was his and the shoes had to share.
I had interrupted his attempts to woo the Little Girl. She cried when he tackled her and that was going too far.
So losing at love, he did what many do. He conquered. In this case, a chair set aside for a pair of old shoes.
Those shoes were my first pair of high heels. Bought at the 14th Street Synagogue's bazaar in 1970 or so, they were old then, too. But they fit and the heel wasn't too high. No one would notice an eleven-year old wearing shoes beyond her years.
Years, later, the first office job in customer service for a fabric company had been found after cleaning houses, caring for children, and being a bike messenger. It was the height of luxury, sitting in a chair while earning money and being paid for 15-minute breaks for coffee and smokes.
It also came with a gang of girls from the other four boroughs in full 1970's fashion, sashaying high waisted pants with pronounced panty-lines and striding thick, clunky platform shoes, their shags wind-swept, each part of their beings swathed in the right stuff that promised of love.
I wore baggy shirts and pants that hid nights of drinking and a round-the-clock junk food diet. After several suggestions, reprimands and then final warnings about dressing more professional, which only meant dressing more lady-like, I knew I had to do something . So one day I pulled out out the shoes, and with a skirt found somewhere cheap, maybe Klein's or Alexander's or Korvette's, I showed up to work.
There's a particular kind of office-silence that rises from whisper-hissing from furious girls, who one by one stormed into the break room to stare in horror and contempt at an old pair of kitten heel, black suede shoes bought second-hand years before. It defied their many hours of effort, making sure from head-to-toe they were the right thing to be loved.
I may have given up the chair tonight to a pissed off hissing cat. But that day, I stayed seated, giving up nothing.
MY PRIVATE CONEY presents IT WAS HER NEW YORK, the short stories that accompany the work-in-progress video and photo collection of the same name (myprivateconey.com - media link - IT WAS HER NEW YORK). The stories and the media explore the tender rubble that holds both my mother, Florence's and New York's soul as one disappears into old age and the other into gentrification. All are real observations and/or experiences with very little tall-tale telling.
Except when it makes the story better.
Please visit myprivateconey.com for additional information and sample works.