When you see this beautiful, comfortable, high top black and white pair of sneakers, you see greatness. You can wear them with a suit, or play basketball games in them, or be like me, and just want them forever. The shoes are size 7, and they weigh no more than three ounces. The stitching is so perfectly straight and pearly that it resembles models’ teeth. The laces are jet black like the eyes of a demon. However, with just eyesight you can’t tell the wonderful details of this shoe. You have to put them on, and you have to run around in them. The soles are very thin yet so soft and squishy, as if you were walking on clouds. This shoe is the 9th edition of Michael Jordan’s signature shoe to come out in stores. Have you ever had many friends that were wealthier than you? Have you ever went to school and played in the same shoes with holes in them? Have you ever gone to school with the same shoes two years in a row? Exactly. I have, and it’s not a good feeling when being talked down to. Bullying got on my nerves, so I just got into fights. With everything bad was happening in my life from my mother going to jail, and me barely having clothes on my back, as crazy as it may seem, all I wanted was a pair of Jordans.
A moment that best captures the significance of these sneakers is in 2004 when my mother told me she would get them for my birthday. I was waiting like a patient young child for my brand new kicks. Days went by, and months passed. I asked my mother, “Do I still get new shoes?”
She stated, “We are working on it.”
My mother used to always go outside at night for five minutes at a time claiming, “I’ll be right back.” When my sister Christine or I would ask her where she was going, she would always say, “Stay in a child’s place.” My mother was basically claiming that we couldn’t ask her where she was going because she was an adult.
In early April of 2004, my father, Geary, who was barely in the house, was there with me. The whole day went smoothly. I went outside and played, came back in the house, went back outside again, and one last time I came in. Dinner was ready, but I wanted to go play some more. Dinner wasn’t my favorite, even though it was always ready at 7 o’clock sharp; it was just too traditional for me at the time to eat at the table. Eventually, we ate with no problem. It was delicious. “Momma” did everything that she could to get me anything I wanted, but some things just took longer than others.
On this night, my mom’s friend, who she claimed had the shoes that I’ve wanted forever, was meeting with her. She was going to ask him if he could get them for her so that I could finally have them. My mother tells us, “I’ll be right back.” I remember thinking, she’s usually back in five minutes or so, but I started thinking why does she always leave, and why is she taking so long?
Finally, I ask my dad, who was there with me, “Why is momma taking so long?”
He claims, “I have no clue,” trying to distract me from what was really happening. He checks the bedroom window from the inside of our third-floor two-bedroom apartment. He screams, “Ahh shit! Bev got caught!”
I had a mini heart attack just to see my father, the strongest person I know, panic. I immediately run to the window, and it looks like Christmas with three to four cop cars with their lights turned on, but it was even brighter than a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve in a small back street alley.
My dad runs downs three flights of stairs barefoot. I run behind him but only to the window in the hallway. I look out the window and my mother is in handcuffs with a man on the other side of the police vehicle.
Everything is moving at the speed of light, and all I hear is my dad yelling at the top of his lungs, “She ain’t do it! She ain’t do it!” He did not know what happened. The cops yell at my father and tell him to calm down, but he wasn’t going by any instructions. The cops tell my father that she, my mother, has been selling crack cocaine and had possession of heroin. I had no clue what that was at ten years old. All I knew was that my mother was going to jail. My eyes were like waterfalls, and my shirt was the lake. My mother asked the cops to see me. My mother gave me a kiss, and she asked the officers if could she give me my shoes that were on the hood of the police car.
I don’t really think shoes are worth my mother’s freedom at all, but the thought and the drive that my mother would sell drugs just to pay our rent and give me the shoes I wanted was remarkable. I never looked at these sneakers as just a pair of shoes that you put on your feet; I wore them with passion and wonderful stride. The feeling that my mother was gone damaged my heart, but my dad promised me everything would be all right. He never broke a promise, so I couldn’t doubt him on that. Meanwhile he stayed strong throughout the whole process while my mother was incarcerated for seven years.
My father moved my sister and me to Las Vegas soon after the incident to get away from all the drama in the LA streets. I learned that my mother was a hardworking woman, and even though it wasn’t the right way to get money, she got me my sneakers. This is why I cherish sneakers so much now. My mother being around drugs also helped me in a positive way because I know to not do drugs, or else I will go to jail. That slightly negative moment in my life made me a young, hardworking man who knows not to be around drugs, or there will be consequences.