I never knew four inches could make me so happy.
Made of black leather, and with a pointed toe, my new heels make me weak at the knees, curling my toes in ways I never knew possible.
I nearly cried when I first put them on. The sheer joy they gave me made up for the broken heart I suffered after throwing away three pairs of shoes this month. My bright red flats, my pale blue Chuck Taylors and, most painfully of all, the first pair of heels I ever bought.
I remember the day I first saw them. It was six years ago, I was walking past a little boutique store, window-shopping like the poor student I was. There they were, sexily perched on a red velvet scarf. I knew I needed them.
I stepped into the store nervously, aware of the fact I was wearing $7 shoes from the Warehouse, and asked the saleswoman if I could please try on the heels in the window.
She smiled sweetly and handed them to me, almost knowing I couldn't afford the $170 price tag. As I held them I knew Cinderella had been right - a pair of shoes could change your life.
The shoe itself was black, but the heel was unlike anything I had seen before. It was tall and slender, covered in a silk the colour of cream and embossed with little black polka-dots.
The detail didn't stop there. The same creamy silk, complete with polka-dots, was used to line the inside of the shoe. The material seemed to overflow from the inside, appearing as a dainty trim on the edge of the opening.
I was in love and nothing was going to stop me from having these as my very first pair of high-heels.
Knowing my eftpos card would flash the dreaded D-word if swiped, I put them on layby. Every Thursday for six weeks I appeared at the store, sacrificing my wine money to be one step closer to my dream shoes.
When I finally had my perfect polka-dotted heels I didn't take them off for a week. In the following years I wore them to my first successful job interview, I tip-toed on them in the theatre, I was even wearing them when I met my prince charming. I was convinced; these shoes were my good luck charm.
So when I spring-cleaned my room this month and found my very first pair of heels, worn out and lifeless in my closet, I almost cried.
Having been repaired more times than I can count, I could see there was no hope for them. The leather had been scuffed off, the sole of the shoe was talking to me and what used to be a beautiful, silky, cream heel was now coloured 50 shades of grey.
These once perfect shoes had been with me every step of the way. Helping me to stand tall, providing a foundation on which I could grow, supporting me through thick and thin.
A lot had changed since I first laid eyes on them and friends and partners may have left me but these shoes never got up and walked out. Every stain and every scuff was a memory of where the shoes and I had travelled.
Perhaps I couldn't bear the thought of throwing them away because, quite simply, they represented the steps I had taken, the road I had walked and my journey to be who I am today.
I sat there on the floor, with my well-adored shoes in my lap. Perhaps I wasn't ready to say goodbye to my first love, to stop studying, to move house or to take a running leap towards my future, but I knew I was at least in need of a new pair of shoes.
They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and when I first laid eyes on my new heels this week, I knew I would be stepping into my future with style, strength, and four inches of pure confidence.
- © Fairfax NZ News