Lichtmagnet via Pixabay

Heels in the Snow

When I was ten years old, my mother decided that I should be more of a girl and less of a tom boy. She thought of a simple solution and that was to make me wear heels. Her ultimatum also forbid me from wearing tennis shoes, my shoes of choice.

I think her reasoning for this was because I wasn’t girly enough. I spent a good portion of my time with boys around my age playing Yu Gi Oh, collecting Pokemon cards, riding my bike, and playing make believe. I read, I played, and I never took an interest in makeup. Unlike a lot of girls in my elementary school I wore a dress quite often, but to my mother that didn’t make a lick of difference.

“From now on, when we go out you’re wearing high heels,” she declared.

I was not happy about this. I knew how uncomfortable heels were, and I was trading them for the pointless act of looking pretty. Whenever I thought my mother wasn’t looking, I’d put on my tennis shoes and run to the car, using the seats to hide my crime. When she caught me, she’d scold me, and tell me to choose from the pairs of heels she bought for me.

One pair was made out of clear plastic, a wedge. I hated this pair the most because the sides of my feet rubbed up against the edge and blister them. My mother loved seeing me wear these.

In the spring my family chose Reno as the next vacation spot. My brother and I didn’t mind going because we knew Reno had arcades and live entertainment. The rest of the adults enjoyed gambling.

The Sierra Nevadas were shedding their coats of snow, and driving through the mountainous roads we saw evidence of that happening. The water ran off on the shoulder and creek beds were slowly trickling back to life. At a nearby rest stop, cars had pulled over to play in the last bit of snow. At my and my brother’s urging, my dad pulled the van over and we jumped out with cries of excitement. Someone had a camera and began taking pictures of the family fooling around in the snow. I still have a picture of me hefting up a block of snow and grimacing into the camera.

You see, while this was my first time being in the snow, I don’t have fond memories of that rest stop. We spent about half an hour in the melting snow and playing with plastic wedges on did not prove to be the most accommodating of footwear. The water seeped into my shoes, rubbing up against the sides of the plastic and my skin and quickly formed flaming, red blisters. When I returned to the van and took off my shoes, my entire family was in shock. It is because of this experience that I don’t dub this event my first time seeing snow.

I didn’t bring a spare set of shoes to wear on the trip and I wore them for the rest of our vacation in Reno. I also don’t remember much about our stay there, only that it was painful. As an adult I often wonder why my parents didn’t buy me new shoes, but perhaps the thought never occurred to them. The trip offered one consolation prize though: I was never forced to wear heels again and to this day tennis shoes are still my preferred foot wear.