Do you remember going into your mother’s closet and trying on all of her shoes? I do.My mom’s closet lay beyond her bathroom, and, after trying on various lipsticks and spraying her flowery perfume into the air until a thin layer of sharp-scented dew covered the countertop, I would parade in, happy to play Cinderella for a few hours with my mother’s high heels. I would dance around in shiny black flats or strappy golden heels, toes sliding into a red pump’s tight point, heels clapping against a thick cork wedge.
As I got older, my feet grew to the size of diving flippers that slapped the ground instead of dancing lightly across it. I could no longer so easily slip my feet into my mother’s petite, delicate shoes. I would sit on the floor of her closet, and attempt to cram my feet into the shoes that once made me feel like a princess, this time feeling rather like an ugly step sister. I stomped around, my feet spilling over the toes or hanging off the back of a heel. This ritual would continue until my feet ached and blistered, and only then would I return to my room, defeated.
When I turned 15, I fell in love with a boy. It was a perfect fit. He called me beautiful, and when I ran, he always chased. My heart soared at the thought of being loved and seen as special in the eyes of someone who wasn’t my mother or father. I was living in a fairytale. But in a few months, the clock chimed midnight on the eve of our relationship, and just like that, the magic disappeared. I pursued him desperately. He ran and I chased, him always the faster. I called out, showing him my heart, hoping he would want me again. He didn’t. I watched as my vision of a perfect Prince Charming shattered like glass. He stopped calling me beautiful. He stopped thinking I was special. It turned out the shoe just never fit. I worry that I will find myself at 80 years old still trying to wedge my feet into teensy heels, unable to squeeze my toes into the fragile pairs some girls twirl in so easily. For now, I guess I’ll just keep trying on shoes, venturing out of my mother’s closet to pursue a perfect fit.
- grace eliene