The Wind

May 12, 2010
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This was the day. The release of the Nike Air Yeezys; entertainer Kanye West's signature shoe in collaboration with Nike would finally take place. Cal had been waiting for this day his entire first semester at Pratt Institute. It was late April, and a minor drizzle from the previous night had saturated his dorm window overlooking the early hours of a day in Brooklyn, New York. It was 5:00am. Cal could barely sleep, thinking about what lie ahead of him the next day. After gently tapping his alarm clock to cease its consistent buzzing, Cal swung his legs from underneath his covers and placed them on the cool carpet. He made sure he was quiet when he cleaned himself up as to not awaken his snoring roommate. Cal had gotten used to it by now. He barely even noticed how his roommate's snoring tones changed pitch as he brushed his teeth. He then progressed onto his closet to select his clothes for the day. He switched on his iPod touch and let the smooth sounds of Dom Kennedy invade the room as he dressed -- on low volume, of course. He threw a pair of jeans on his bed along with a Supreme t-shirt. He grabbed his Burn Rubber fitted hat from his desk and threw it on his head. Now, the tough part; what shoes would he choose for the journey ahead of him? After about five minutes of pondering, he opened the box of a pair of Air Jordan 'Cement' 3's from '94, put them on his size nine feet and exited his room.
Cal was the definition of a sneaker head. He has boxes upon boxes of shoes in his dorm room. His roommate and him got into an argument during the arrival and move-in of the incoming freshman class. His roommate contended that Cal’s shoes were invading his own quarter of the room. He and Cal didn’t speak much; they barely saw each other on campus because they were in different programs (Cal was studying to become a footwear designer). He even asked a couple of his buddies if they could keep a few pairs in their room because he didn't have enough room for all of them in his own. He had shoes from 1986 unharmed in their respective boxes. He had shoes he hasn't even worn yet still safely nestled in his dorm closet along with a few pairs under his bed. But today, Cal would hopefully arrive back with a brand new pair of shoes to contribute to his collection. Cal definitely felt that without this certain pair of kicks in his compilation, that the entire set would be nothing.

It was 6:15am. Cal walked through the quiet halls of the Pratt dormitories and headed towards the elevator. No one else in the dorm was awake at this moment except for Cal and his floor supervisor, James. Cal and James have been cool ever since freshman move-in day when James helped Cal move his shoeboxes up to his room. James was also a sneaker head but not on the same level as Cal. Cal figured James was up getting ready for his early shift at the local Foot Locker. James occasionally gave Cal slight discounts on the new Air Jordan shoe releases; such as the Air Jordan ‘Chicago’ two’s that dropped a few weeks back. Cal never paid retail for his kicks, but he knew he would have to pay the $215 fee today for the exclusive shoes he desired today. Cal boarded the elevator and hit the first level floor.
His iPod had now begun to play Big Sean, fellow Detroit native. Cal was originally from Detroit. Cal upheld so much love for the city that birthed him. He always wore his Burn Rubber fitted hat to let others know where he was from. Burn Rubber was a store back home in Royal Oak, Michigan. He would be flying back home soon and he decided to go straight to Burn Rubber after seeing his family and getting two pieces of his grandmother’s famous sweet potato pie. He frequently talked for hours with his grandmother while he sat in his dorm room in between classes. He told her everything. She was his best friend and he missed her dearly.

Cal staggered off the elevator and nodded his head toward Bruce, the security guard. Bruce was strict with other students but nonchalant with Cal. Bruce had been watching ESPN on the small television positioned on his desk. The reception wasn’t too good but he didn’t care, just as long as he could see the highlights from last night’s game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers. Bruce shouted after the reporter proclaimed, “LeBron James scored thirty-nine points and dished out twelve assists.”
“Still don’t like LeBron, huh Cal,” said Bruce.
“Ehh he alright; not better than my boy Kobe, though.” Cal replied.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever, son,” replied Bruce cynically. “Another early pick-up today?”
“Yeah man, the new Yeezys drop today, “ Cal claimed.
“Oh, word?” said Bruce. “If only these jokers paid me more, I would be up there with you to grab ‘em.”
Cal chuckled as he looked at Bruce’s sneakers, sloppily laced on his feet. Bruce wore the same beat Charles Barkley shoes everyday.
“Oh, I know, man,” Cal, claimed. “I gotta jet though, I’ll catch you later.”
“Okay, kid,” said Bruce.
As Cal began to walk towards the doors leading to the New York street life, Bruce lifted his heavy body from his rolling chair and glanced towards Cal’s feet. Out of the corner of his eye, Cal examined what Bruce was doing and a smirk appeared on his face as he pushed the doors open. Under his breath, Bruce said, “man, that kid has got some heat,” and tuned back in to the sports highlights.
Cal glanced down at his wristwatch; it read 6:23am in digital font. He supposed he should start to advance toward his destination if he were to get his specific size. He knew everyone that was a sneaker head would be present at this release and that there would be a line. Cal hated lines. Most of the time he would pick his shoes up a day or so ahead of everyone else because he had connections at certain spots.
Cal made his way toward the metropolitan area of Brooklyn where he could hop a cab. He passed men and women walking their dogs and some taking casual early morning jogs. This reminded him of his next-door neighbor back home in Detroit. She would wake up around four or five in the morning to take a jog around the block a few times. On occasion, when Cal too was up early heading over to Burn Rubber for an early release, she would ask him when he would join her for one of her strenuous jogs. Cal always declined politely but he respected how she followed the same routine every morning to begin her day. She was dedicated to staying healthy and keeping fit.
Cal waited about ten minutes to catch a cab. Cal jumped in the backseat of the cab and told the driver where he wanted to go. The backseat of the cab reeked of onion and some other stench Cal couldn’t quite comprehend. The driver obliged to Cal’s request and began speaking on his radio device, stating an array of random numbers to the person on the other end of the line. Cal ignored the driver and stared out of the window, frequently glancing at the pay meter. It read $7.45 by the time the cab arrived outside of his destination. He gave the cab driver a ten-dollar bill and exited the cab. Cal was a few short blocks away from his destination. He looked at his watch once again. It was now 6:46am. Cal wanted to be a few minutes earlier because he knew the line would be out of the door by now. He was only about a block away and he could see other sneaker heads making their way towards the store as well. He noticed his homeboy, Todd crossing the street towards the store, wearing a pair of Penny Foamposites. Cal lightly jogged over to him and said, “what up bro?”
Todd replied while still continuing his stride, “what’s up, man?”
“I should have known you were going to be here.”
“Yeah, homie, you know I couldn’t pass up on a release like this.”
“True money,” said Cal.

They were in front of Dave’s Quality Meat (DQM). Despite the name, Dave’s Quality Meat was no butcher shop. DQM held all the latest styles and fashion selection, including the newest and freshest shoes. DQM had opened its doors early because of the high demand for such an exclusive shoe. Cal and Todd noticed the line to buy shoes was nearly out of the door, with more and more people lining up by the minute. Cal and Todd continued their conversation.

“I see you brought out the Penny’s today,” Cal said.

“Not as fresh as those Cement three’s on your feet, though,” replied Todd.

Cal smiled. “They straight, nothing too special.”

Todd laughed. “My homie got too much heat; you should let me take a look into that closet of yours and snatch a couple boxes from you.”

“I don’t know about that, son,” said Cal. “Trade?”

“Okay, okay, I’ll offer you my Air Jordan ‘Grape’ fives in dead stock condition for your ‘Cool Grey’ fours,” Todd replied.

As Cal deliberated the offer, a guy working in the store stated they were out of a few big sizes. Cal and Todd weren’t worried at all, just as long as they weren’t out of size nine.

Cal finally replied back to Todd, “we’ll see.”
They continued their conversation as a few people walked past carrying new boxes of shoes out the door. They were slowly getting closer and closer to the counter to get their hands on their own pair of kicks. Cal and Todd noticed that a few people doubled up by buying two pairs of the same kicks. One pair was to wear and another was to sell on eBay for a higher price. Straight scamming, Cal thought.
Cal reached the counter first and said “let me get a pair of Air Yeezy's in a nine.”
The guy standing behind the counter said, “no problem,” and yelled toward the back of the stock room for the Yeezy’s in a nine. After a few moments, another guy returned holding the box of an exclusive pair of kicks. The exact ones Cal had waited all year for. He smiled at the sight of the box and pulled out his wallet and handed his plastic credit card to the clerk.

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