Better Than Boyfriends?

Losing our footing is the one thing we can depend on.

My drummer is throwing a fancy-dress New Year’s Eve party tonight. As girlfriend to the host, my pressing concern is which shoes to wear with the necklace he gave me, an ornate chain holding a smooth pendant of distressed gold.

Through the holidays friends said I should engrave the pendant with our initials or the date we met, something to qualify it. The concept hadn’t occurred to either of us but this is the nature of inner circles. We all need signs showing our comrades’ intentions. Then we ourselves can feel secure.

I compromise while I’m drying my hair and assign significance to the pendant’s bareness: it represents the hope of the unknown, the universal blank slate. Proud of my adventurous outlook I opt for some previously unforeseen footwear, three-inch black canvas, round toe, cone shaped heels. I never wear heels for dancing but the roomy toe bed, rubber soles, name (On the Rocks by Seychelles) and price ($78.00) are perfect.

I’m dancing around my room, channeling Posh Spice when my phone rings. My friend Amy is supposed to be drinking bubbly at her own boyfriend’s soirée but another tiny argument boiled into a sad truth: she doesn’t know what she wants in her big blank future, even their relationship. So it ended. I sink into my bed. It really does feel like crap when our collective security slips.

A few hours later she shows up at my door stunning in all black, right down to the classic but slightly tight secretary pumps he got her from Aldo for Christmas. She reads my mind. “The right one still pinches my foot,”

she says. “But this is my mourning outfit.”

That’s devotion, I think, to her painful shoes and her painful feelings. I rub the smooth pendant between my fingers remembering we share a shoe size. “I’ll switch with you,” I offer weakly. But the only thing I know for sure is she’ll wear her heels all night.

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January 2008
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