There is a store, that happens when you walk inside, it smells like elegance. A CEO with more money than he needs, a gutbusting load of it. Ma buys heels from there, shiny leather ones with dagger heels that look so sharp that they could cut your skin just by looking at it. You would look so pretty with a pair of heels, her tongue clicks up against her ivory white teeth as she struts down the carpeted halls that are sticky with the film of pudgy toddler hands. Ma can make anything seem like an Oscar winning event, me, not so much, I spent the first years of my life with tiny feet coddled and stuffed in silk binds. I was expected to move with the calmness of a river; gentle and easy, with beauty. I couldn’t even do a pirouette after five years five years too long. I still spin, I just end up collasping in giggles at what I dumbass I am for even trying. I was free of silk binds that were soon replaced by stringy laces that trailed every step I took down city sidewalks and every hop I took in the garden my surrogate pets sure to be sticking out of every pocket imaginable. But then the gaze of my binoculars changed and I got taller, my hair always long and frizzy became short and straight. I was sculpting every inch of me that I could except for my adventuring feet, armed with dirt encrusted rubber soles and frayed laces flying free in the wind. Then along comes the enemy, the polished, coveted enemy. Ma pulls me over to one of the millions racks and picks out a red ballet flat, like the millions we had already grazed over. As if on cue she holds the shoe up the right one as if she were Arthur pulling his prized Excalibur from the stone, ‘cause maybe she thought that one damn overpriced shoe would save the entirety of England, or maybe it would save my disinerest in womanhood, both of those things I doubted would ever happen in a million years. Try this on, mija she drops the thing unceremoniously to the sticky and orders me to try it on. Duitifully I do, and the longer I keep it on the more I want to scream. How do people live with toes pinched so hard it feels like they might turn black and fall off?
A mousy looking girl with blonde hair lazily shoved back into a ponytail tapped Ma on the shoulder. Her voice was twangy like a guitar, but the words she spoke were heavenly. Im sorry miss, but those aint for sale, she pointed to the shoes.