Nana loved to shop, and our go-to places on weekend mornings were Bradlees and Caldor. She also loved to pick out clothes for me, but when I was in sixth grade, I started forming my own opinions about what I liked to wear. It was 1985, Madonna had just taken over the world, and I wanted red pumps.
My relationship with Nana was sweet. We talked about everything and treated each other with respect and kindness. This one day, though, I remember not being so nice to her. Walking past the shoe section, I saw them, the red pumps. All the girls were wearing them and I wanted them. I hung my head low, chin to my chest, while I sauntered around the store, not willing to budge until she gave in. I was a pouty baby.
She did give in, and I got my red pumps. I went home that day and couldn’t wait until Monday to wear my new shoes to school. I went into my room, took them out of the bag and box, and tried them on.
They fit perfectly and I had been practicing with high heels so I was confident walking in them. I paced my upstairs bedroom, wearing out the orange carpet, waiting to enjoy the moment, but it never came.
I spent many weekends at Nana’s and learned from her about kindness, fairness, and helping those who didn’t have much. I never wanted to leave when it was time, and while I trotted around my room in my new shoes, all I could think of was my pouting and how it must have made her feel. Thirty-six years later, I still feel sick in my chest when I allow myself to dive into that memory.
So, Nana, this is my apology to you. I should have never pouted and begged for the red pumps. I know you didn’t want to get them for me because of principle, and I also know why you did. You knew our visit was about to end and you didn’t want me to be mad at you. I used your emotions as a weapon, and I wonder if you’re in heaven right now laughing at my silliness for latching on to this memory, or if you even remember that day. Either way, I’m sorry.
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