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A Tear in the Fabric

by Gail Alston about a year ago in Childhood
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A blip in the life of a shy pre-teen

I was very excited that Saturday. My mom had bought me a new pair of sandals. These weren’t just any pair of sandals. These sandals had a heel. For an eleven-year-old girl, any shoe with a heel meant you were a grown up. That isn’t really true but when you’re, young unspoken rules ruled. I couldn’t wait to wear those sandals and Saturday was the day. Saturday my sisters and I had our weekly Girls Scout meeting and I was determined to be the envy of every scout in the room. I had chosen my outfit to wear with my sandals the night before. I knew how I would wear my hair. This was going to be my shining moment. I was going to be a star. Here’s what I didn’t know. The pants I had chosen were a little to tight and it wasn’t very easy to walk in heels when you have never done it before even if the heel is only an inch and a half.

Saturday morning, I rose up out of bed and got ready to go to my girl scout meeting. I slipped into my new sandals and felt like a brand new me. I was ready and running late as the yelling from my sisters from the front door for me to join them suggested. I took my first step in my brand-new sandals and nearly twisted my ankle. Hmmm, I thought, these are not like sneakers at all. I can remember my sisters yelling at me to keep up, trying to keep my balance and not twist an ankle in those sandals was a task that took immense concentration on my part. After all, it was my first attempt at being all grown up. I was going to excel at it, regardless of what anyone, including my sister, said. It was the longest six blocks of my life.

As we arrived, late of course, it was just as I thought it would be. Everyone loved my sandals. I was complimented on my outfit, on my hair. It was perfect. I was a star! We went through the beginning of our meeting as usual, talks of badges and fund raising. And then the Troop Master made an awesome announcement.

“We’re gonna do something a little different today. I thought it would be fun to have a fashion show.” She said with a world of enthusiasm behind it. All I could think was, this was a gift from the heavens! I was ready! I was wearing the perfect outfit with the perfect pair of sandals. I was runway ready! I couldn’t wait to walk down that makeshift runway and give ‘em the business. The only thing that could’ve made this revelation ever the better was a feather boa to flip over my shoulder as I made that final turn to close out my fabulous walk back up the catwalk.

The catwalk was set. The music was so loud the walls shook a little with the bass. All the girls in the group would take their turn as ‘Runway Model’. I decided that I would go last, not because I was a show stopper but because I was extremely shy as a little girl and had changed my mind about walking the runway three times already. I was so far in my head I didn’t realize when it was my turn to take my walk. So, I took that first step out on to the runway, shaking like a leaf I was so nervous. But I didn’t wobble. I didn’t slip. I put one foot in front of the other just like I’ve seen so many models do on television. I made it to the end of the runway and through the turn without falling, without stumbling. In my head I told myself I could do it. I could make it. I was a star. I could see the top of the runway before me and I was in my glory. I turned to take my final turn and pose. That’s when I felt it, the slip and then I heard it, the sound of ripping fabric. I lost my footing in those new sandals I was so excited to wear and tore a hole in those pants that were a little too tight. My leg went up in front of me and my butt hit the floor. I looked like an arthritic James Brown. I really wished that there was a cape about to be thrown across my shoulders that would hide my shame and embarrassment. Everything stopped, the music, the cheering, everything. All the girls just stood there, including my sisters, staring at me. A few of them couldn’t hide their laughter. There wasn’t a hole deep enough for me to crawl into. The tear in my pants split them in half from the zipper in the front to the waist in the back. It was a good thing I wasn’t wearing a pair of underwear that said Wednesday across the back. That would’ve been something. Finally, the Troop Master came over, through her sweater around my waste and helped me to my feet as the tears swelled in my eyes. My star had gone supernova and very quickly imploded upon itself. When I got home, I begged my mother not to make me go back and she didn’t. That was my last day as a member of troop# 365. I am glad to say that all these years later, I finally got the hang of walking in heels.


About the author

Gail Alston

Single mother of one, doting aunt and sister. I have been writing since the age of thirteen. I consider myself more of a poet of which my favorite is Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I am in complete love with English prose...

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