About a week ago, I lost someone very dear to me.
Okay, it wasn’t a someone. It was a something. A pair of black high heels.
I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous. Mourning over a pair of shoes. But before you laugh, know that these were no ordinary shoes.
First I need to make something very clear. I don’t wear high heels. I just can’t. I tip over. They hurt my feet. I get them caught in every crack in the sidewalk and sink them into the grass. I can’t walk farther than from my desk to the printer1 in high heels. High heels are one of my greatest fears.
A few years ago, just before I started my freshman year of college, my life was changed when my mom came home from Dillard’s with a pair of black high heels for me. I said absolutely not, no, I can’t wear heels, I’m not taking high heels to college. I already had a pair of ½-inch black heels that we had branded my Sensible Shoes because they were made for eighty year old women with bunions. But I loved them, and I told my mom I didn’t need more black high heels, particularly these, which added an extra inch to my usual half-inch limit. Just try them on, she said. And I, being the ever-obedient daughter, did as I was told. Absolutely not, I said as I was putting them on, there’s no way I’m keeping these…
But once I got them on and did a few laps around the house, I had to admit, they were nice shoes. They had a T-strap, which made me feel like a World War II pin-up girl. And I didn’t tip over when I wore them. They were easy to walk in, and comfortable. I hadn’t known high heels could be comfortable.
So I said okay, and I started wearing them.
And then I basically didn’t take them off for four years.
These shoes went everywhere with me. Utah State University, Chester, Paris, London, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C., Salt Lake2. Seriously. Everywhere. Wherever I moved, they were one of the two pairs of shoes I brought with me. I have walked cobblestones in them. I have raced after trains in them. I have traversed wet, muddy lawns in them. I have acted in two different plays while wearing them. I have directed plays while wearing them. I’m confident I could have run a marathon in them.
They were truly the perfect shoe3.
And then a few weeks ago, I went out to lunch with my dad. While we were walking back to my office, something didn’t feel right. My perfect shoes were feeling a little tipsy. They even hurt a little. I mentioned to my dad that they felt a little wobbly. He said he could probably fix them–he’d look at them when I got home.
Well he did look at them, and determined he couldn’t see anything wrong, but I could feel something was off. The heel was still wobbling. My mother suggested trying the shoemaker, who had so lovingly replaced a piece of the sole for me a year earlier when the cobblestones of Harvard Square had started to take their toll. The next day, when we collected the shoes, the shoemaker delivered the fatal diagnosis. Something inside the heel had broken. I don’t remember all the technical terms, I was too hysterical. But I got the takeaway: he could fix it…but it would cost more than buying a new pair of shoes.
And so, it is with a heavy heart, that I say farewell to my dear black T-straps. They went down fighting, and shall be given a hero’s burial. And they shall forever live in my heart. The paragon of shoes. The heel that ruined all other heels for me.
Rest in peace, my friends. Until we meet again.
- A distance of approximately seven feet.
- One of these things is not like the other….
- Were! Sob! This is where the story gets sad…