By Shuchi Singh Kalra,
Special to The Post
We drove straight to Summer Fiesta, a quaint café by the beachside. It was a bright, sunny day and I was glad I had carried my floppy white hat along. The few-ish tables at the café were occupied by couples, mostly backpackers, and Vivian suggested that we head to one of the tables under the thatched gazebos a few meters away. Which meant that I would have to walk in the sand in these crazy four-inch heels that could stab someone in the eye if flung around carelessly. Got to put up a brave front. Celebrities walk around in sky-high heels all the time. They even dance in them.
I stepped off the pavement and my pokers sank in the sand. A second later, one of them wrenched against a small rock and snapped in half, twisting my ankle as it did.
“Oww!” I cried.
“Are you alright?” said Vivian as he held me by the shoulder to break my fall.
The pain was excruciating and all I wanted to do was scream ‘mama’. When you looked at it sunny-side-up, it might translate into a trip back to the hospital. I must admit, I had begun to like it there.
“I don’t think so. It’s hurting a little.”
“You’re really accident prone, aren’t you?” He unbuckled the cursed shoes and held me by the waist as I limped towards a stone bench nearby. “It seems to be fine,” he said after poking, prodding, twisting and turning my foot around.
The pain had subsided by now and I was a little disappointed.
“I think I should start giving you my special frequent customer discount,” he joked and offered to throw in a free foot massage. I have been a regular at foot spas but nothing compared to this. His hands were firm, yet gentle. Waves of pleasure throbbed through the length of my body.
“Know what? Feet like yours are not really cut out for heels. The narrow front tends to squish and distort them. The shoe should fit your feet and not the other way round.”
Great. Now he knows I wore heels to impress him. Ouch. He noticed my big solid feet. Double ouch.
I have always held a grudge against my dad for giving me gigantic feet that were nowhere in sync with my body. I wouldn’t say they were ugly, just too big for the rest of me—a generous size forty-two. There was a time when I tried stuffing them in sneakers but considering the balmy Mumbai weather, it wasn’t a sustainable strategy.
“I think you shouldn’t wear those shoes for a while,” he said. Great! Now I’ll have to strut around barefoot in the sand—that too on my first proper date with him. The sand felt scorching against my feet as we made our way to the café but I dared not complain.
“Do you want my sandals?” He was the sweetest thing on the planet but I was so done being stupid. I could always think about the blisters later.
“No, no. I’m fine, really. It’s actually quite nice and soft…the sand, I mean.” This had to be the fake-most smile I ever had to come up with.
“Don’t mind me saying this, but you always crack me up with your antics.”
Just what I was afraid of—now I was his pet clown girl—someone who would crack him up after a stressful surgery. You don’t date clown girls and you definitely don’t fall in love with them. Clown girls were like those caricatures in a Bollywood movie—I’ll never be his leading lady.
About the Author:
Shuchi Singh Kalra is a writer, editor and blogger based in India. She has been writing since 2005, and has written for magazines like Femina.in, Good Housekeeping, Home Review, Parent & Child, Women’s Era and many others. She also writes a monthly travel column for Investors India, and is the owner of Pixie Dust Writing Studio, an editing firm that services a global clientele.
This story is a excerpt from Indireads. This fictional series offers a wide wide range of romance novellas written by both men and women, for South Asian readers around the world. Read more at www.indireads.com