The heat that day had been so oppressive that the shower I took to try to cool off just increased the humidity in my house. I turned off the water and felt as if I were trying to breathe through a woolen blanket. Clearly a day this hot called for more drastic measures. So, the mall it was.
I parked the car at the mall and looked longingly across the acres of parking lot at the beckoning doors behind which I knew lay air-conditioned comfort. As I plodded across the lot, steam rose in waves from the damp asphalt. The mall itself seemed to waver like a mirage. I may have hallucinated a few palm trees and a sweaty camel. I could almost feel the soles of my new espadrilles beginning to melt and stick to the pavement.
My bra and underwear were soaked with sweat as I made the long trek towards the mall doors. I could feel a bead of perspiration slowly dripping between my breasts and another trickling between my butt cheeks. To make matters worse, I was on my period and wearing a pad, which at this point was also sweaty.
When I stepped through the mall’s doors into the heavenly air-conditioned comfort and my mood lifted a little. The chill was welcome, except that now my damp undergarments felt cold and clammy against my skin.
I strolled around window shopping and searching for bargains. I reminded myself I wasn’t there to buy anything, but to prevent myself from spontaneously combusting in the hotbox that was my house. As I stared into store windows, I noticed that some shoppers staring at my feet. I smugly thought, “I knew these shoes were a good decision.”
But then I noticed that while they were indeed gawking at my shoes.
They had that expression your dog gets when you offer him an unfamiliar treat; that puzzled, head-cocked interest that says they are not quite sure what they are looking at. I began to get irritated. My moods swung between pride and irritation. I couldn’t decide whether to pipe up with, “Yes, my shoes are cute, aren’t they?” or snap, “What the hell are you looking at, asshole?”
Curious, I glanced down at my feet. Evidently my sweat-dampened underwear had caused the adhesive on my pad to let loose. The pad had crept down the inside of my pant leg and was now stuck to the top of my left shoe. I should clarify: Just the center of the pad was stuck. The two ends of it were uplifted as if I were Pegasus in anticipated flight. My espadrille appeared to be about to fly away.
Pretending that nothing was amiss, that I always wear a maxipad on my feet to keep my shoes clean (or at least one of them), I pretended to continue to window shop. But as soon at the lookie-loos were out of sight, I ducked into the nearest restroom. Once safely alone in a stall, I sat down, and peeled the pad off my shoe. I carefully rolled It into a ball, wrapped the little package in tissue, lifted the hinged lid of the metal disposal container mounted on the side wall of the stall, and tossed it in.
Too late I noticed that the cleaning crew had neglected to replace the bag that should have lined the container. My package went right through, fell into the next stall, and surprised the lady occupying that stall by rolling to a stop against her shoe. I slowly closed the lid, lingered in the stall until I was sure she had left the restroom, and slinked out the side door of the mall.
I am blaming the entire incident on the shoe. I’ll never wear another espadrille.