Ferragamos and Friendship

I sat perched on the bed. Criss-cross, apple sauce with my chin in my hands – she had my full attention. It was as if we had rewound our lives and we’re sitting in our college apartment – as we had done hundreds, if not thousands of times before.


She was pulling out one dress after another from a bulging closet. I was providing fashion op-ed.
“No. Not that one,” I’d say. “Oh, yeah. I like that one. Plus, you can wash, line dry and wear that dress the next day.” Here I am gushing practicality, when really all she needs is a sexy frock because last I checked, they do have laundry service in Italy. My sense of self really started to unravel when she pulled out a flat (A FLAT!) of designer shoes hiding beneath her bed.

“My God! When did this happen?” Before, she could answer, I continue on a tirade that went something like this. “Those are Jimmy Choos and you don’t have one pair – you have several. And, what are those?”

“THOSE,” she replied, “are my gateway shoes. Ferragamos.” A gateway shoe? “You know. Pot is considered the gateway drug. Ferragamos are what I call my gateway shoes.” I lamely reply, “Those are cute,” which I’m sure it is a fashion injustice of epic proportion. She lets me slide because she’s now pulling out each pair of shoes and telling me the back story.

I’m not listening. I’m now calculating her shoe investment when I realize that each pair is in p-e-r-f-e-c-t condition. Perfectly positioned and perfectly organized and perfectly packaged.

Mind you, this is the girl whose college bedroom was in constant state of disaster and proved rich fodder for many of my photos essays. While her housekeeping skills haven’t changed over the last 20 years, her panache for some sexy, well-heeled … well, heels has evolved.

The next logical question (of course): “Who gets your shoes if you perish in Italy?” She rattles off a few names, to which I make a mental note. We do this kind of crazy stuff for one another. I’ve given her orders on how I want my kids raised if I kick it and specific secret instructions (just in case). I thought the least I could do was get her shoes to the right woman -- especially since I couldn't cram my fat foot into her shoes if I tried.

At that moment, I realize that our lives couldn’t be more different. She’s single, no kids. For goodness sakes, she doesn’t even own a kitchen table. For some reason, this gives me heart palpitations since my life literally revolves around the kitchen table by way of food, homework and heart-to-hearts.

Seemingly, we have so little in common. Yet, we know every detail of each other lives. And, every once in a while, we get to slip away sans family and work and commitments and just be two friends - sisters - surrounded by a sea of really rad shoes talking about Ferragamos and Florence over lemon drops.

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