Payless, Going…going…going, GONE


The store, everyone I knew went to as a child to get new shoes is going out of business…actually, by this time, it has went out of business. (They are moving to the West Indies).

This is the store I was able to let my imagination run wild and my mom didn’t stop it. When it came time for me to get a new pair of shoes, I said no to the mary janes every other little girl wore and no to the cute little shoes with the tiny heel that every little girl who thought they were grown said “an absolute yes” too. I wandered around Payless and fell in love with the cutest tap dancing shoes!

Mom, I want these shoes.

Girl, those are tap dancing shoes!

What’s that?

You see these silver heels?

Um-hum….yes, Ma’ma

Depending on how your feet is positioned, you make a tapping sound.

Really? Can I try them on?

Yes. Of course. But if you decide to get them, just know you are going to wear them to school and church. I’m not buying you another pair of shoes.

Yes, Ma’ma. Can I try them on… now??

Lystria, listen, if you get these shoes, you are NOT getting another pair of shoes.

I don’t want another pair of shoes. I want these. All my life.

May we have these shoes in a size 4 please?

That was the best day of my life. We walked out of Payless with tap dancing shoes. It was a feeling I would never forget. Even when I got my first pair of Jordans, I wasn’t this happy. I tapped every where I went. And the ribbon. The ribbon! That Ribbon! The ribbon that made sure the shoes stayed on my feet was the most beautiful ribbon in the world. It was better than any shoe string and definitely better than tying sneakers.

I eventually got in trouble for walking too much. Ms. Fitz thought I was getting off on the wrong foot…whatever that meant. My teacher’s request for me to sit down got out of hand. And, behind my back, calls were being made home.

I tap-walked to the windows to check on the cars below.

I tap-walked to pick up my pencil that just kept dropping on the floor. It was hard to explain why it wouldn’t stay in the well of my desk…

And I had no problem walking in the line. For my tapping was calming and it was good to know that no other person in the whole school had on tapping shoes at that moment.

When my Mom reminded me that I had to stay in my seat. I begin to ask to go to the bathroom. Which created a huge problem for the first year teacher.

Ms. Hurley, I think you daughter has a problem. Maybe a bladder problem. She asks to go to the bathroom every half-hour.

This was a great conversation for little me in the second grade. You see, I didn’t know anything about a bladder or me having one or even mine having a problem. However, when my teacher was done talking to my mom this time, My mom smiled a smiled at me that made my imagination disappear.

My child doesn’t have a bladder problem. I know what kind of problem she has and it will end soon.

As we walked out of the school, I forgot about my mom’s smile and said bye to my best friends, Emily and Tina. Seeing Emily in her Mary Janes made me remember that I had to use the bathroom.

Mom, can I use the bathroom?

Yes, go ahead child.

She watched me hop and skip down the hall. Tapping past Emily and Tina pretty slowly. Watching them look at my shoes in wonder. I tapped right into the bathroom. I saw Evan at the fountain and told him the good news about my bladder.

Hey Evan!!

Hi, Lystria.

Guess what?


Ms. Fitz told my mom that I have a bladder problem.



What does that mean?

It means that starting tomorrow, I can go to the bathroom anytime I want.

Yeah, right. You will get into big trouble.

No…I won’t. Ms. Fitz said so.

That night when I got home, I was super obedient and nothing was said about my bladder problem. Mom must have forgotten. I was afraid to bring it up just in case it really did mean something like a spanking. So, I asked my older sisters what a bladder problem may mean.

It means you don’t know how to hold your pee.

Hold my pee?

It’s what old people have. When they have to go to the bathroom, they just go, on themselves.

Ohhh. That’s what Ms. Fitz told Mom I have.

Which you don’t!

Yes, I do!!

Whatever, Lystria. I’m trying to read.

That night I went to bed and could not wait for school the next morning.

I stayed in my seat the entire time. When it was time for us to line up for lunch, while the teacher was at her desk doing teacher stuff, I whispered to my classmate.

Who dares me to leave without asking Ms. Fitz?

This created a huge excitement in the room. So much so that if it was a bet I would have gotten so much money. The goodie-two shoes in the front of the line were exasperated.

Looking to get the teacher’s attention, Bossy-Boots then screamed, Lystria! Get back in line!

And the boys, they were thrilled to see me practice the art of insubordination… an art they knew too well, dared me even more.

By this time, I was by the door with kids all around me. The goodie- two shoes in the front of me trying to block me from getting my foot out the door and all the other orginal kids stood behind me.

I dare you. Thomas said.

Me too. Tyrell chimed in.

I ran out the room down the hall to the bathroom to take care of my badder problem among a chorus of second graders shouting for Ms. Fitz.

And that was the end of my problems. And even the end of my tap dancing shoes.

When I got home, my dad was there to take me to get new sneakers.


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