Flat Fret

“Shoe” is a good word as is “sale.” When combined… well, who can resist such bipedal pleasure? Not I. Thus, I am shod in new shiny slides.  They are well-priced. They are pretty. They are comfortable. They are flat. Flats and low heels have always dominated my closet.  Now … they are my closet.

High heels are in my rearview mirror.

I will never appear to be 5’9” or even 5’10” again.  Now, I luxuriate in Jeffrey Campbell’s whimsical, well-priced shoe style. I eschew J. Crew pumps and lust after indulgent Gucci Slides that will surely make it to my Christmas list. I throw my shoulders back and will my 5’6 3/4” self to graze 5’7”. Flats are my present. And my future.

Many women of a certain age consciously narrow their footwear choices. Some because their joints are done walking on such stilts, “My knees just can’t take them anymore,” said a pal as she tied her très chic trainers.  Others because of bunions, corns and other toe troubles the adoration of such footwear has left as its legacy. Flats and sensible heels are de rigueur for many in middle age.  But damn it, short hair is not. I’m keeping my locks long.  Fuck that trope.

But I digress from toe to head. Back to my closet.

I separate my high heeled shoes; a pile to give away, one to sell in the hope of justifying those Guccis… and a few to keep, if only to stare at …to reminisce.

My progression is slow. But steady.  I don’t shuffle… yet, at least, but my left leg lags — especially when I’m tired… when my walk resembles the “Quasimodo Drag,” as I term my lingering-left-leg gait.

At the start of each appointment with my neurologist, before I even see the doctor, as soon as my copay is processed, the nurse asks, “Have you fallen lately?” “No,” I state with pride; Amy one, PD zero.  But it’s only a matter of time… and time will move faster if I wear heels.

Stilettos were never my thing.  Rarely graceful, regardless of PD, these long, blade-like heels only accentuated my klutzy shortcomings, erasing any illusion of long, lithe legs.  If you can’t walk comfortably in your heels of whatever height, no matter how gorgeous they are, they’re not sexy. They’re not pretty. They’re a detriment, a failed attempt for all the world to see.

The shoes I miss most are the midrange three-inch, sturdy heel. The ones that, when paired with any skirt or dress said, ‘playtime.’ Like these. Or these … or the myriad of others I’ve labored for, loved and worn through over the years.

History tells us that heels started out as the practical providence of horse-riding men.  My history with those solid but still sexy heels is one of weekends at play.  I’d put on a pair of heels and run… from the cab, to the restaurant, across the road to the next adventure… or rather I did.

But now, Parkinson’s Disease frets its hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
told by a neuron, full of sound and fury and the dying of the dopamine,
Signifying that heels are too dangerous for me.

Frivolity still ensues. Only now its preamble is a colorful flat, a silly hat, a scarf with a cat – a forced rhyme against which to take up a bat.

My future is flat. My affect is not as emotive as those of my sisters in sensible shoes. But I have a teenager, a long ‘to do list’ and a neurodegenerative disease.  I think I’ve earned my resting bitch face, thank you very much. But, more often than not, my face still reflects my joie de vivre at the chic shoes … like those Guccis… have I mentioned those mules… and the many blessings I enjoy.  Now if only my stomach were as flat as my shoes.






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