It was a cold, blustery day. The kind where sleet blankets your hair within seconds and turns into product-infused icicles that drip onto your your salt-spotted jacket when you go inside. The kind where your spirit shrivels up, too bereft of sunshine to properly fill your eyes.
My husband had ordered me out of the house, insisting I needed to take a little time for myself.
Lost without my endless To Do list and feeling unbalanced without a toddler on my hip, I blearily got into my car and headed to the mall—the only destination my sleep-starved mind could even think to go.
Shivering as my sneaker-clad foot slipped into yet another slushy puddle, I hurried toward the glowing Macy’s sign, halfheartedly hoping I’d find something that would remind me of spring.
I flitted from rack to rack—too tired of winter to even want to try on the itchy sweaters and woolen pants whose prices had been slashed with red pen.
I stopped for a moment in front of a glittery cocktail dress, its figure hugging sparkles catching my color-starved eye. But when I looked into the mirror behind it, I couldn’t convince the bedraggled woman who stared back at me that there was any point in trying it on.
Getting discouraged, I wandered over to the shoe section. I fondled the soft leather of black knee-high boots I knew would never fit my calves and tried to convince myself to buy a pair of the cheap yet cozy looking Ugg knockoffs that stood next to them.
But when I turned to find a sales person to get my size, I saw them. The Perfect Shoes.
Sassy white polka dots danced across a black background and sat atop a saucy red patent leather platform heel. The open toe beckoned, inviting me to slip a freshly manicured foot inside and skip away from the sullenness that blanketed my world.
I had to try them on.
As I slipped them on to my feet, newly liberated from their wooly socks, a smile broke free.
When I stood and walked, my spine straightened, my shoulders went back, and my imagination ran wild.
I pictured myself wearing them with a flouncy black dress, red purse and a fire engine red lipstick to match. I imagined taking my husband’s hand and walking out of the warm summer sunshine into a dimly lit night club, where we’d sit on velvet couches and sip martinis. I pictured myself giving my body to the pulsing of the music and dance, dance, dancing the night away.
I had to have them.
When I returned home, it was with a triumphant smile and a shopping bag swishing sexily at my side. Once inside, I tore them out of their crinkly protective layer of tissue paper and pranced around the living room.
“This is what I’m going to wear on our next date!” I said.
My husband expressed the appropriate amount of enthusiasm, then passed our fussing toddler back to me. And I? Plunged back into reality.
My daughter once again balanced on my hip, I sat the shoes gently in a corner—one where I could see them.
“Next weekend,” I swore. “Next weekend I’ll take you out for a spin.”
That weekend passed. And the next, and the next, and the next.
We still haven’t been on that date. And those shoes? Have never been worn.
But still they beckon, sparkling at me from the unexpected places my daughter drags them.
Someday I’ll get my sexy back. Someday I’ll give those shoes their due.
But for now? I maneuver through my busy life wearing my practical, polka dot-free shoes.