My friend Ruthie knows about shoes.
I have really wide feet. I yearn for a pair of indisputably genuine high heels to wear out to dinner looking all lady-like. I don’t even hope to find any that fit comfortably. I don’t expect to walk in them much. If I walk slowly, I can get a good block or two looking like I walk on heels all the time. It’s a lot like acting.
Ruthie is visiting us and she finds a store right here in Miami! Ruthie has super powers. She is a gourmet chef and makes beautiful jewelry. Her quilts have won awards. Give Ruthie a problem and she goes at it like a pit bull until she figures it out. By rights, Ruthie should be an intimidating person, but she’s just the opposite. Everybody loves Ruthie.
This store Ruthie finds has weird shoe sizes but only, say, one or two in any given size. Clearance from somewhere where there is a larger concentration of women with big feet. I’d say the Amazon, because of the myths, but I’ve been there and all the Amazonian women in real life have tiny little feet, and they don’t even wear shoes, most of the time. Waste of perfectly good shoe feet, in my opinion. Personally, I am all aflutter because I find a pair of polka-dot three-inch heels that pretty much almost fit me!
So, I go to check out and the guy sees my last name. He asks me if I’d ever been to Zion National Park. I say that I haven’t. Naturally, Ruthie has been there, though, that’s how things are with Ruthie. She’d been all over the world with her husband, Simeon, before it even occurred to me that stepping out of Brooklyn was an option. So, anyway, the shoe store guy runs to the other side of the counter and gets his laptop. Lickety-split, we’re looking at beautiful pictures of the park.
He draws out a diagram of the park on a piece of paper. He shows us where he was standing when he proposed to his wife. Ruthie helps him draw the diagram to make it more accurate. The name of the promontory is “Angel’s Landing.” It is the highest point in the park, from which there is the most expansive, gorgeous view. To get to the actual arduous climb up to it, you have to brave a long narrow land bridge with sheer drops on either side that look like forever to me. This is not somewhere that I would ever have a need to go.
He shows us the view from the very spot where this tender moment took place. It was a stunning place, a breathtaking view.
“That is just the loveliest story,” I croon.
“Yeah, I know,” he says, “I planned it forever so that we would always remember the moment I proposed. I got down on my knee and held out this little blue box with the ring in it and asked her to be my wife with all nature’s beauty displayed before her.”
“What a wonderful, romantic person you are!” I say.
“But you know what happened next?” he asks me.
“She threw her arms around you and cried and said yes, she would marry you,” I respond confidently.
“Nope. She opened the box and took out the ring. Then she took a diamond tester out of her backpack and tested it,” he says.
“She had a diamond tester?
On the top of the mountain?
In her backpack?” I ask.
“Yup. She must’ve been carrying that thing around with her everywhere,” he says.
“Kinda puts a crimp in the ‘romantic’ part, doesn’t it?” I say.
“Should’ve known right then that it wouldn’t always be smooth sailing,” he says.
“Huh,” I say.
“Thanks for the shoes,” I say.