I was cleaning my closet, minimizing my life by getting rid of anything I no longer needed or wanted. All part of the new life mantra: less stuff, more purpose.
Sorting through years of some serious conspicuous consumption.
The Sonny and Cher vest? Out. The purple stone-washed jeans, size 8? Out.
It was a strong, purposeful weeding exercise. No mercy, very little nostalgia.
I was nearly done. Piles of things to give away and just one more little section of the closet still to go ... And then I found them. Wrapped in a soft, protective cloth bag of crimson and gold, stashed behind an old VCR.
There they were.
They are knockouts, these shoes. Pointy-toed, black patent leather, four-inch high-heeled FMPs (fuck me pumps) from Roberto Cavalli. They purr Vixen and promise a sex life I'm sure I'll never have.
Memory floats in, offering a rusty-orangey autumn evening in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I'm wearing the shoes to a cocktail party in an airy downtown loft. It's a trendy people thing, but in a New Hampshire way ... I perched near the lobster buffet, within reach of a high-top table to prop me up, and I held court in those shoes for over two hours. Name brand gin and tonics helped numb the pain.
"OMG! Your SHOES!" someone says.
"Those are amazing!"
"Holy shit! Those shoes! But how can you walk in them? Aren't your feet killing you?"
"No," I lied. "They don't hurt. They're way more comfortable than they look! They're Roberto Cavalli -- really well made!"
Lie. Lie. Lie. Even Meryl Streep could not have given a better performance.
After the party, bandaged and limping, I put away the Cavallis. To be honest, I didn't think about them again for a long, long time. Not until the great closet decluttering moment.
What to do with these, I asked myself. They cost a fortune. The GDP of a small nation. I wavered, but only for a few seconds. The FMPs simply would not work in the new life vision I am creating. So, I packed 'em up and shipped 'em out to gorgeous Victoria, my friend's 26-year old daughter.
She messaged me as soon as the package arrived. "They're heavenly! I love them! Tell me, what's the provenance here?" (Subtext: YOU wore THESE?)
The story: I was in NYC on a seriously hot, sticky August day, trudging up Fifth Avenue, thighs rubbing, face splotching red and hot. Sylphs in black, sleek and thin as glass, glided up the Avenue all around me. I felt progressively less sure of my worthiness.
Just then, a deus ex machina moment: the doors to the Cavalli boutique swung open, and Shangri-La beckoned. Before I could stop myself, I was inside and asking to see those shoes, please.
And then they were on my feet.
And then I was upright.
"Oh yeeeessss," I said, admiring my reflection in the mirror. "Oh yes, I'll take them."
Total validation of my value in the cosmos.
I wore them only that once.
These days, stilettos need not apply. I'm rockin' cowboy boots. Sturdy and strong. Just a little bit country, just a little bit rock 'n roll. Less Beyonce, more Carrie Underwood, and perfect for shit-kicking my way through life's choices and challenges. In my boots, I face the rough patches head-on, going straight through rather than teetering around.
And what of the FMPs, you ask. Any news?
They're blazing a new trail in Northhampton, Massachusetts, and were photographed with an outfit involving some serious gold and Spandex. They're on Facebook.
A whole new life beckons for each of us.