I wore high heels to school. I didn’t want to. I’d have much preferred to wear flat sensible shoes. But all the other girls wore heels, so I did too.

I was a new girl. I was an Australian girl in an English school and I did what the other girls did, because I didn’t want to be different. I wanted to belong.

So I click-clacked my way down endless school corridors with a smile on my face (despite my sore feet.) I learnt to control those extra tall heels like an expert. But one thing I never got the hang of was walking high heeled in the snow. 

One afternoon, as I was sliding home from school, with sodden sore feet, the answer to my problem suddenly popped into my head: “What I need is something to hold onto.” I pondered a bit more as I wobbled along, and then I had another thought: “What I really need is an arm to hold onto.” Yes, if I had someone to cling to, maybe I wouldn’t slip and slide and tumble over onto the cold icy snow. But where would I find an arm?

Then one day a boy in my class said in an offhand kind of way, “You could come with me to see The Rocky Horror  Picture Show on Saturday night.” I thought about it for a full 5 seconds. The Rocky Horror Picture Show? No; I didn’t think that was my thing at all.

Then the next week the same boy sauntered past and casually said, “The China Syndrome is showing at the cinema. Fancy going to see it on Saturday night?” “What’s it about?” I asked, and after hearing all the movie details, I was silent for a few seconds or more, while I thought. Yes? No? Was the movie worth seeing? Perhaps. So I said, “Yes; why not?” The following Saturday evening we caught a bus together into town for our very first date.

Soon I had an arm to cling onto whenever I was walking to and from school. Not that I needed an arm by that time. Had the snow melted? No; it was still deep on the ground. But I was no longer picking my way through it, wearing ridiculous high heeled shoes.

You see, one day my friend Linda arrived at school wearing new shoes. I looked at her feet and my eyes opened wide. Her feet were flat on the ground. She was striding down the corridors in a pair of sensible brown lace-up shoes. I breathed a sigh of relief. That evening I tossed my high heels into a far corner of the cupboard. The next day I strode to school, crunching effortlessly through the snow, with a huge grin on my face. Linda and I were different together.

Although I no longer needed an arm, I clung to that high school boy anyway. Arm in arm, we went on hundreds of dates together. We gazed up at every cinema screen in town, while sharing popcorn. I travelled to all his rugby matches, and sat valiantly in the cold wind, while pretending to watch. We played squash and he beat me every time. We walked side-by-side through woods and along coastal paths, not even noticing the spectacular views. We ate hot chips out of newspaper, with gloves on our hands, on frosty winter nights. We sat shoulder-to-shoulder on park benches, and we talked and talked.

That boy was Andy. He asked me to marry him. I thought about it for a spilt second and said, “Yes; why not?"

 We’ve been married nearly 31 years now. I look back through time to the school kids we used to be and I say, “Andy, why did you want to go out with me? What was it you liked about me?”

And he replies, “You were different. You were special. You still are." Then he adds, "You were you."

I was me. I still am. And I found a place to belong: On the arm of my beloved.


Post a Comment

  1. You have a great blog, I've zip through some of your other posts, you don't have a quiet life do you? http://aimingforapublishingdeal.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Charlotte,

      Thank you for visiting my blog and reading some of my posts! Maybe most people have lively and interesting lives but they just don't write about them. I'm very fortunate because I've got a family who don't mind me telling the world about ours! I'll be over to visit your blog!

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  2. Oh Sue that is such a romantic story. I actually sighed at the end. xxx

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    1. Lisa,

      We had to have a change of pace after crying yesterday, didn't we? I sighed too. I thought that girl had all the luck, then I remembered... that girl's me! She was pretty stupid when it came to shoes though.

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  3. What a wonderful story, and such a nice picture of the two of you. 31 years. Wow!

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    1. Kathleen,

      I don't have many photos of Andy and I. I'm usually behind the camera (where I prefer to be!) This one was taken last Christmas. 31 years? I hardly dare admit that. Some people might think I'm so old!

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  4. Sue, I would have a hard time if I were asked to pick my favorite of all your wonderful stories (please, no one ask me). But I have to say: this one's at least in the top five. In the top three. Maybe in the top one.

    I LOVE it. What a fun, romantic, wonderfully written story.

    And you click clacked around school in high heels?!?!!!!!!????!!!

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    Replies
    1. Nancy,

      Oh thank you! I almost never wrote this story. I had a very frustrating day battling with it. I actually decided I was going to bail out of the challenge because I didn't have an H story. then yesterday morning I woke up and knew exactly how I was going to tell the story. I wonder if that's ever happened to you. I think I'm in charge of the words but really they are in charge of me. I am so glad you liked it. Your wonderful comment makes the struggle well worth it. Thank you!

      High heels at school? Yes, it's true. The English school girls were much more sophisticated than the Aussie ones (unfortunately.) I much preferred my old uniform of short cotton dress, white ankle socks and flat black lace-up shoes. Uniforms here haven't changed that much over the years. School girls are still wearing similar clothes.

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  5. Like, like, like! How I like the thought of Andy inviting you to this cool movie, and you not wanting to go: I'm just happy he was persistent. And how I like that you thounght for a long time before saying no to a movie, but said yes to his proposal after only a few seconds. High heels I have only tried once. I'm 176 cm tall, so it was a no go, and I fell and almost sprained my ankle as well in the shoe shop. No high heels for me then or ever. I was even married in sensibly almost flat nice shoes. Why did you go to school in England? But what a luck you did; for meeting Andy.

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    1. Uglemor,

      I guess I didn't rush into love. I think love grew slowly but surely just like friendship does. Now I love my best friend more than I can express.

      You are not missing out on anything as far as high heels goes. I am only 155 cms tall and I could do with some extra height but I am going to remain short with comfortable feet!

      Why did I go to school in England? It's a long and complicated story... When I was halfway through year 11 at my school in Australia, my parents decided to go to England for a time. I was enrolled in a distance education class so I could continue studying for the Australian schools' final exams. When we arrived in England my parents thought it might be beneficial to enrol me in a school there, as well as have me do the correspondence work. So I studied for both countries' leaving exams. My family stayed longer in England than they planned. I was going to return to Australia by myself because I was offered a place at a university in Sydney. But by that time I didn't want to leave Andy. I stayed and went to a university in Wales instead. We married on the final day of the final year of our degrees. Two weeks later we returned to Australia. That was 31 years ago and we haven't been outside Australia since Andy first arrived! I hope you understood that long and complicated story!

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  6. What a beautiful love story. And I can relate to heels--I stopped wearing them in my 30s. I'm short, but I'm too klutzy to wear them!

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    1. Stephanie,

      I'm also short and some extra height might be useful, but I am never again going to wear high heels! It's so nice to meet a fellow flat shoe wearer. Thank you for your kind words about my story!

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  7. Awww Sue, your post completed my Friday! I know I just found a perfect new blog to visit and follow since I read your post about "ironing away the pain".

    Your blog posts are so heartwarming. I will keep coming back to your page again and again.

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    1. Maria,

      You have made me smile. What a beautiful comment to wake up to on a Saturday morning. Thank you! It is lovely to know I have a new blogging friend. I'm sure we shall have lots to chat about as we share each other's blogs. Enjoy your weekend!

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  8. I don't like to admit to someone I don't know that I'm a weeper, but this story had me sniffling. It's every girls dream to meet a boy who recognizes how special she is. Your dream came true.
    (And good for you for throwing those clickity-clack high heels into a dark corner!)

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    Replies
    1. Tess,

      Oh yes! I am very fortunate. Not many people meet the right person when they are still at school. And if I'd never made that trip halfway across the world, I'd never have met Andy! Life is full of wonderful stories. My girls love it when I write down mine.

      You sound like another flat shoe lover! Nothing will persuade me to wear high heels ago!

      Delete

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