The red polish on her toes was named Firehouse, and that was the reason she’d picked it up at the dollar store. She wanted to feel alive, wanted to feel like her energy was on fire. The morning she left for her new life she had folded herself into a pretzel to carefully apply the lacquer to all ten toes before leaning back against the wall to admire her handiwork.

When the polish was dry, she slipped on the first pair of pants she grabbed from the closet, those baggy white and navy print things that were so comfortable to lounge around in. She laughed aloud, because if only one thing was going to change, it was the amount of lounging around the house she was going to do from here on out. Still, those pants were comfy. And they happened to match the white tank top she was already wearing, sans bra, so she went with it.

Today was a day of fate, and fate might as well control her wardrobe choices as well.

Except for the shoes. She already knew she was going to wear her strappy red sandals, because they’d lain neglected and alone in the back of the closet for far too long. Those were coming on this trip, like it or not. She checked to make sure her toenails were completely dry and then struggled to stretch those straps just the tiniest bit that was necessary for a proper fit.

Buckles done and duffel bag over her shoulder, she didn’t even bother to say goodbye to the place she’d lived with her boyfriend for the past six years. Why should she? It wasn’t like she had a chance to say goodbye when he was in that accident.

She didn’t lock the door behind her as she put her best foot forward on her way to the bus stop and the beginning of her new life.

When the bus arrived, she showed her ticket to the driver and found a spot among the rows of empty seats. They weren’t empty for long; it looked as if nearly every seat would be taken with the mass of people waiting for this very bus.

Within minutes she found herself pressed against the window by an old woman with a shockingly large purse. She absentmindedly wondered how the small woman managed to carry such a monstrous bag.before turning to stare out the window, blocking out the present and focusing on the future.

She wiggled her Firehouse toes in her firehouse sandals and smiled at the thought of better days to come. Endless numbers of better days.

Another Sandal


Last night (at work, don’t tell!) I hopped on over and picked up some new work sandals. It is so nice to let my feet breathe while I’m on them for hours at a time. It’s amazing how much cooler I feel with some air on my toes.

The Search for Sandals

I had some pleasant news when I went to work on my birthday–a new dress code for summer! Hosiery is no longer required, capris are allowed, and best of all, open-toed shoes are approved.

Sandals. I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with them over the years. When I was young, I would have killed for a pair of huaraches. Maybe I should take a step back a little further.

Dress shoes. I remember my first pair of ‘grown-up’ dress shoes. They were maroon Mary Janes, but the kicker is that the strap was hinged, so I could flip it back for the appearance of a lovely strapless flat, which made me feel so adult. Oh, how I loved those shoes. They were a turning point in my footwear wardrobe.

Over the years, I went through phases: Docs, K-Swiss, Birkenstocks, minimalism, chunky heels to exaggerate my height. Overall, I did gravitate towards shoes that I didn’t see anyone else wearing. At least, for my clubbing shoes. This began to spill over into my athletic and comfy shoes as well.

I would seek out sales and clearance for my clothing, but didn’t balk a second at paying full price for some fancy footwear. I was all about Gadzooks and Journeys and Fashion Bug. My favorite pair looked like the Candies mules that were in all the fashion mags in the 90s.

But wait, this post is about sandals. I was not good at sandals. I had a pair of horrible white leather rubber soled chunky heeled things. I had a pair of red jelly heels–I did love those. But I didn’t open toe. And I never got those huaraches. I don’t know what changed, but suddenly, with the advent of the ‘summer fun dress code,’ I must sandal. My feet need to be free and experience the freshly air conditioned mall air under those hot, hot skylights.

Now, the dress code. Black, white, or gray. Open toed but ‘if it goes between your toes it is not allowed.’ Okay, I can do that. I hate flip flops. Heels must be one inch or less and backless shoes are not permitted. Heels, check. Backs–that may be an issue.

Gladiators are so in, but my ankles are not identical. Due to a mishap several years ago, a tendon in my left ankle is not where it originally began its tendon life. So tall and strappy can be a problem. Surely I can find something I like anyway. Even with my wide width.

The dress code memo got me all worked up, so we went shopping. No dice. I haven’t had a sit-down job since 1999, and my feet show it. Anything with a wide enough toe box is too long. But I found some slides.

I spend hours at work facing the ‘50% off all sandals’ banners at Payless. I eyeball the window displays when I’m not busy. I see some interesting new things that just might do the trick. We go shopping again.

Oh, Vanessa. I love you. You are one of the pairs I’ve been longing after in the window. You fit perfectly! But wide width is only available in brown.

We continue the search. At this point I’ve only tried on about eight pairs. Including Laguna, that floral print skyscraper pump that Abby said were so me. And the cork wedges, even though I despise wedges, because the elastic is oh so naval. And the Ronaldo, in coral. Tetian, you should come in wide width as well. Stardust fits fine, but all I feel is emptiness.

Shoe Carnival disappoints. I don’t try on anything because nothing calls out to me. You only have two pairs that meet the dress code anyway, and those are uuuuugly.

Lane Bryant, you’ve always been there for my fat ass. Be there for my wide feet. And you are. Kind of. Je t’adore these ankle straps, even though my feet are showing so much skin they feel naked. But my choices are too small or too large; I need a half size and you only have whole. Le sigh.

Target. Still no dice.

Another day, another trip sandal shopping.

The other Lane Bryant location which is holding a 10 for me at Ian’s request is closed.

Rack Room has the same brown-but-not-black issue. But they did have huaraches. And I don’t like them anymore. Although the Crocs huaraches were super comfy.

Super Target has an even smaller selection than regular Target.

It would seem I am destined to sneak around in my backless slides and cross my fingers the district manager doesn’t show up and notice.

And Ian is sick to death of sandals.