Vertigo heels in the early morning

14 Sep

You stand there. Awaiting the green light, that familiar shrill beep. I see your feet first. Sky high, black, vertigo-inducing heels. I wince with memories of painful soles after nights of dancing, piggybacks home. They must hurt.

It’s 8.30, a Tuesday morning. Too early for aching feet and blisters.

Your legs, slim and pale, blemished with greying bruises, lead to a baggy jumper. Masculine, long and oversized, covering your shorts or skirt. I can’t tell. You must be cold. I see your tattoo covered hand, intricate black cobwebs of ink, a spider somewhere perhaps. Delicate work that must have taken hours. And hurt.

As you move the hair from your face I see another tattoo. Scrawled, black cursive writing spells the word ‘silence’. I don’t want to stare, not obviously.  So I battle the hungry temptation for a prolonged glance at the words on your neck.

I want to make sense of you.

For me.

Your head is held high with a confidence that rivals any I could ever pretend to have. An air of self-assuredness that I can almost tangibly feel beside me.

I wonder how someone can look so naked and exposed yet exude a hiddenness.

‘Look at me, want me’

‘Keep away’

Time allows us to stand for a moment longer. I wonder whether my fleeting thoughts and judgments echo those standing with us. Have you even been home? Do you stand on street corners whilst autumn leaves fall around you, signaling the coming end of another year?

It’s okay to cross.

As you pace ahead, comfortable in your sky-high, patent heels – my heart skips a rushed beat and my judgements lay scattered on that pavement.

I see, tightly held in your hand, the small, grasping hand of a child. Four or five, bright blonde hair and admiring blue eyes. Walking beside you in his neat school uniform, dragging a sparkling silver scooter.

‘Green man Mummy’

You head up towards the school. You in your vertigo shoes, with your big round eyes, and your son oblivious and comfortable beside you. A mystery.

Taking on the world.

And keeping it out.

All at once.

And me? Silenced by irony in my sensible clothes and boots. Hushed by stark contrasts, confused stereotypes. Covered and comfortable. Evoking no questions but with hundreds on the tip of my tongue. A breath away. Off to work,

Neither taking on the world.

Nor keeping it out.

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