02 June 2013

Her best friend E. is doing the final, judged recitals of her degree, the make-or-break thesis for a combined Master's/PhD in classical keyboard performance. In a spasm of self-discipline, which she has been trying to cultivate lately, she writes E. an unsolicited email of well-wishing and encouragement.

It is possibly the first active thing she has ever done in a friendship. Only in the last few years has she begun to think of friendship as important, even vital, and of her friends as people in whose happiness and unhappiness she has a share. She is thus unpracticed at considering the feelings or lives of her friends as anything but material for witty gossip with them.

It feels good, though, to wish someone for whom she cares success, and she finds she likes doing it; but this pleasure is nothing compared to the rush of tenderness and buoyancy she feels when E. responds.

"It means more to me than I can express," E. writes, "to know that somewhere there are prayers tied to a branch for me."

The feeling that accompanies being informed that she has made a positive difference, no matter how small, in the life of someone she adores is revelatory, astonishing. She has helped! She has taken pains, and it has mattered!

If only giving to charity had such obvious rewards, or calling out racist comments. This I shall do more of, she thinks. No wonder people like it. It can be wonderful, this being a friend.


30 May 2013

She loves watching women walk in high heels. Their feet do not move as they normally would, but are placed forward one pointed toe-box at a time, elegant and dainty; this makes it seem as though the shoes carry the women along, and the women only float over them, made elegant and dainty by association. Their motions are similar to the way tall grasses move in wind.

She herself prefers platforms. Heels destroy the body and slump the shoulders, she knows, and fat and her own nature make her back hurt at the end of a day anyway--have done since she was 19. (That's depression for you.)

Platforms give a visual effect almost as good as heels, she thinks, lengthening the leg and increasing the numerator in the height/bulk ratio (which are both mimics of youth: adolescent girls experience growth in their legs before their torsos or the bulking-out of their bodies, she has read, and aping this makes one appear nubile). It is not too hard to find wedges with a heel base as wide as her foot, and on those one can tromp anywhere, even down into a ravine.

Her new boots, which she is wearing for the first time today as she runs errands in order to test them, are platforms after a fashion. They have a 1 1/2-inch sole at the toe, which rises in one mass a further two inches at the heel. The heel is slanted forward like a librarian heel or the heel of a cowboy boot. 

She loves librarian heels and longs to own a pair (to be the kind of woman who wears librarian heels, on whom librarian heels look natural), but this is not why she chose the boots. She bought them because (in addition to a host of other, more sensible reasons such as comfort and a treaded sole) they closely resemble the iconic Victorian women's boot. Even the grommets through which the laces thread are oversized, giving the fleeting impression of buttons.