I said, flatly, “I can’t go. I don’t have shoes.”
“Oh, that can’t be too hard,” he said. But Harry had never seen my feet. How could I explain? I had to try.
“Yes, it could be that hard,” I insisted. “You missed my big growth spurt between fifteen and sixteen.”
“It took place entirely below the ankles.”
Now, I know what you’re thinking: No foot in the kingdom could fit in Cinderella’s tiny glass slipper. I know in the legend the thing that truly sets Cinderella apart, in the end, from all the other women, was the fact that her feet were so dainty and unique. Like her, I am different because of my feet, but in the opposite way. The only thing dainty about my feet is the nail on my baby toe.
My feet started growing a few months before Dad and Sylvia got married. Sylvia had ordered satin shoes for Debra, Donna and I, dyed to match our bridesmaids dresses, but the morning of the wedding, they no longer fit. The Girls convinced me to wear them anyway. I toughed it out on the ride to the church and the walk up the aisle, but the pain of standing through the ceremony was so blinding I passed out. Which caused waaay too much attention to be focused on me, and embarrassed all of us but my dad, who was cool about it. I completed the ceremony barefoot, but couldn’t go into the restaurant for the reception. No shirt, no shoes, no service. Dad gave me some money to go to the drug store and buy some flip flops. Sylvia has never forgiven me.
Over the next few months, those really busy months of The Girls moving in and Sylvia redecorating, my feet kept growing. I burned out on shoe shopping because it filled me with self-loathing. Years later, I would adopt the habit of wearing my pants too long, with really high heels, so my footprint would appear smaller, but at that time I gave up wearing shoes, period, and started wearing flip-flops exclusively. My feet were flat, calloused, and always exposed. Debra took pity on me once and gave me some of her old nail polish, so that helped a little. But by sixteen I was a size thirteen. Standing sideways, I looked like a capital ‘L.’ Kids at school called me Bigfoot, behind my back of course, but I heard them. Sylvia kindly called a plastic surgeon to see if I could have a foot reduction. (Not without having my toes removed.) Later on, in college, Nevada and Linda would lovingly say no girl in town could fill my shoes, but I would always tell them they were wrong; any girl in town could fill them. With hot water. And bathe in them.
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