From Seven and a Half to Nine

I’ve been walking a lot lately. Mostly around the neighborhood, marveling at the range of architecture in this town. Occasionally, I see a cat or a dog and that’s a real treat. I’m averaging about 4 miles for each walk, and the hope is it will get me in shape for hiking season with my dear husband. I like hiking, sort of. I mostly like how it feels to be at the top. I could do without the way it feels getting there and going back down.

All of this walking means my feet have been kind of bothering me. I’ve mostly been wearing a pair of sneakers that I’ve had for a while, but on snowy days I’ve also worn my hiking boots. The sneakers are pretty packed out and the hiking boots feel like lead weights. So we went to our local running store and I asked them to help me find a pair of shoes I could use for walking, but also for low-key hikes. This running store is well known for being able to evaluate what a runner needs and they have you run away from them and then back and then balance on one foot and squat and a whole host of other commands that made me feel like a pup eager to please its owner.

Then she measured my feet and said, “Ok, I’ll be back with some size 9s.” And my brain was like, what?

“Did you just say size 9?” I didn’t want to tell her how to do her job but it did not look like I was anywhere near the 9 on the food measuring device.

“Yup, one foot is about a 1/2 size larger than the other. I’ll be right back.”

I stared at my husband and he smiled at me. “She said 9.”

“Yes, she did.”

“I wear a 7 1/2.”

When she came back with a couple of boxes I said, “I wear a 7 1/2 size shoes. These shoes, the ones I walked here in are 7 1/2.”

“I’m sorry.”

And she was because she knew I’d been cramming my feet into shoes that were too small for me. Not too small for life, but definitely too small for walking or hiking. My toes definitely swell up when I walk for long distances and my shoes always feel so tight when I’m done. That’s right, moron, you’ve been wearing the wrong size.

I couldn’t let it go, I kept looking down at my feet and saying, “But look at them! They’re clown feet! I’m only 5’3″, how can I be wearing size 9 shoes?”

By the end of my husband was over my shock. My world had been turned upside down and he just wanted me to stop saying the word “nine” over and over again.

I tried on a few different pairs, ran around the store in each for a little bit. At one point I was wearing two different shoes to see which one I liked better. It felt so strange to have shoes that fit the way they should. I wore them out of the store and then when we went to the Y later in the day, I donated my old shoes at a box they have set up by the entrance.

I’m really looking forward to a long walk today, to see how my feet feel with all that room.

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