In These Heels?
By Camilla Kelly
A Coffee Break Tale from our Archives
Dressing to impress can be disastrous – but surely a real hero will save the day?
A date with Dylan: there could be no better reason to splash out on a new outfit. Allie had had a crush on him for ages. Every time he came into the bank to deposit the takings from his café it seemed to her he made a special effort to come to her window out of all the cashiers available, but for a long time she thought she was imagining it.
But then there was The Cupcake. A cupcake with a swirl of cream, topped with a strawberry carved into a heart, gently placed in front her of window on Valentine’s Day.
And finally, finally he asked her out.
She dressed carefully: pastel pink nail varnish, skinny jeans, leather shoes with a 4-inch heel. As she stood in front of the mirror tweaking her hair she reflected she hadn’t been this nervous in ages.
He rang the doorbell right on time. Her heart fluttered with anticipation. He stood on the doorstep looking great.
“It’s such a nice night,” he said with a charming, slightly shy smile. “I thought we could walk to the restaurant.”
“Sounds lovely.” She stepped out to join him. Oh.
“Everything OK?” Dylan asked.
“Yes, of course.” She smiled brightly.
She’d been expecting someone taller
It wasn’t his fault that (like the joke went) she’d been expecting someone taller. Every time they’d spoken before she’d been behind a cashier’s desk. Standing beside him for the first time her eye-line almost met the top of his head.
It seemed impossible that someone so grand in her imagination could be anything less than six feet.
Dylan didn’t seem to mind her height. Maybe he didn’t even notice the discrepancy. He just offered his arm.
“You look beautiful.”
Oh, but she really liked him. She wasn’t disappointed about his height, just felt a little awkward. She walked self-consciously beside him, regretting that she’d chosen such tall shoes. He must think her so insensitive. Should she explain she hadn’t realised her heels would make her taller than him?
No, of course she couldn’t say that.
She found herself hunching over.
It had all been going so well …
Something funny he said made her laugh. It drew her straight again. She tried to concentrate on the conversation while bowing her head, curving her spine, stooping. She worried he wouldn’t want to go out with her again if she made him feel short.
“I’ve been trying to design a cupcake for you,” he said. “Something special.”
She stepped into the gutter. Pretended she was avoiding the wet leaves on the pavement.
This was better. Like this, she was a mite shorter than him. She could go along like this for a way.
“Mmm. It would need lots of cream.”
“Whatever you like.”
“They’re my favourite too. I knew we’d make a great couple.”
It was going so well! Until…
Her heel caught in the grate of the drain. He saw her begin to topple, and reached out. There was a snap.
“Are you all right?”
“Just… turned my ankle.” She leaned on him as she pulled her foot in its broken shoe free from the grate. The heel hung like a snapped branch.
“Can you stand on it?” He drew her nearer, holding her elbows to keep her steady, his expression full of concern.
“It doesn’t hurt,” she said. “It’s fine.”
Your shoes were pretty sexy
Standing like this, the heel broken and her shoe flat to the pavement, they were almost exactly the same height. Perfect.
“Your poor shoes.”
“I didn’t like them so much after all.”
“No? I thought they were pretty sexy.”
She laughed and blushed at the same time. She should have known he wouldn’t be intimidated by a girl being taller than him.
“I’ve got the perfect solution.” He turned and tapped his shoulder in invitation. She only hesitated a moment before hopping on for a piggyback.
“How’s the view up there?”
She giggled all the way. He held on to her tight. She felt like a little child and a giantess all at once, looming above everything, the world at her feet.
When they arrived he set her down and caught his breath.
“I’ve just thought of the perfect name for my cupcake,” she said, kissing his cheek in thanks. “Head in the Clouds, Walking on Air.”