There is a pair of 5 inch, platform, purple suede, peep toe heels sitting in my closet. I have never worn them, and they cost exactly $109.00. Every day I see them they look a little more limp. I think maybe I should stuff a little bit of tissue paper under the ankle straps so they don’t get a weird crease or bend wrong. Sometimes I think I should just get rid of them; sell them on eBay, give them to a friend, even drop them off at Goodwill. I don’t go out very often, and when I do, it’s usually jeans and tennis shoes. They’re comfortable. Besides, I’m 5’9”. Adding an extra five inches to my height makes me feel not only overdressed, but overwhelming. As if I was an elephant, or a tsunami wave about to engulf a beach. I try to make myself feel little.
But sometimes, when my roommates are out and I’m cooking spaghetti, no meatballs, and the music is blaring across the apartment I remember those heels. I don’t know what made me wear them tonight. I rushed into my room like I’ve got somewhere to go and slumped on the floor to strap on those high heels. By the time I get up from the floor, a new song starts and I’m strutting around singing my heart out to the sunken beige sofa. I reach out to it, an imagined microphone the only thing between us. I’ve logged a lot of hours, studying, reading and writing, watching movies on that couch, but it will never understand me. It’s just a sunken down comfort and I’m straining to reach those high notes without toppling from my barely worn heels.
If I had a boyfriend, he could be sitting on that couch watching me, smiling at my foolish hoppy dancing. He could take me out on the rare Saturday nights I’m not scheduled to work and wrap his fictionally big arm around my waist as I walk down the street, slowly, because of the five inch heels strapped around my ankles. Give them time, and they’ll twist around my legs like shackles to the point where I won’t want to take another step. The heels will become a ball and chain hooked to the walls of those imagined arms.
So I sit down on the ground, my fingers grasping at the clasp until I finally unbuckle them, stand up and regain my balance on solid ground again. Then I pick them up and place them carefully back in the closet, wrapping them up in tissue paper before I slide the box back into its place on the shelf.