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  • Charli

Heels

I used to covet my mothers heels in all their tottering glory. I would sneak into Mum and Dad’s room and pull the boxes out from under the bed. I knew which shoes were in which box and I would make my trying-on plan, well in advance of tea time, and delaying doing homework,  anxious not to be caught. Funnily enough this was something only I did – as far as I know. I don’t recall sharing this delight with my sisters. When Mum was going out with Dad somewhere special and dressing up in glamorous clothes I would perch on the end of the bed and watch her apply her make up, while she pulled assorted faces while applying eye liner, mascara lipstick. I’m sure I make those very faces today. Listening to Simon Mayo’s ‘Confessions’ the other evening I chuckled as the confessor revealed her yearning to own a pair of heels. She eventually ‘stole’ her sister’s lost money but the shoes she described sounded so like my first pair.

I had scrimped and saved and used birthday money. They were burgundy patent leather, strappy and to my 14 yr old eyes, utterly beautiful. I loved them and wore them whenever I could. I still like a heel. Unfortunately bunions and a damaged knee can restrict the height and design but I persevere until I find just the right pair. My biggest hindrance is that I sometimes forget to walk as if I’m wearing heels and will set off at the sort of pace normally akin to wearing walking boots or trainers. This caught me out last year when I left work to attend an inaugural speech from a professor with whom I had collaborated. The wind had been strong all day and was taking no prisoners on Easter Road as I marched up, determined to walk to the University, rather than wait for a bus. Needless to say, the combination of a heavy rucksack, high winds which suddenly dropped and failed attempts to squint at Google Maps rendered me helpless on the pavement,  red faced and bloodied of knee and torn tights. Two youths wearing cottons were approaching me and all my worst assumptions and prejudices came to the fore. I assumed they would laugh and jeer at the sorry heap I’d become. But no – they both stopped, showed genuine concern and offered to help me up. Pride and shame flooded my cheeks as I muttered an ‘I’m alright thanks’ and scrambled to my feet. I made the lecture with seconds to spare. Yup for me that day pride came before and after the fall and serves me right. I’m wearing those same heeled boots today and have been ever mindful as I made my way from Waverley to Lauriston place for a dental appointment, tip toeing over cobbled streets and using banisters up and down the stairs I have climbed.

Heels – a poem.

Stiletto sharp with pointed toes Solely designed for all my clothes. I can’t resist I’m going in – They cost HOW MUCH? That’s a sin. I try then on and – woe betide They’re in a bag and I’m outside. I’m feeling sick with shaking hand – my credit card….but you understand.. I find them now five years on They’re almost new and barely worn. I try them on – there is no doubt The younger me would seek them out.

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