She hums a tune while doing her needlework as the sunlight filtering onto her shoulders through the oval green leaves. Handmade, yellow-colored, tiger-head-shaped, on a clear day my first pair of shoes is born. It might be a tradition in our village for the grandmothers to make shoes for their toddlers. Needle carefully sews and thread thoroughly mends, locking the fragrance of Flos Sophorae in my memories of childhood, pure and white. For one year or so I keep getting them dirty and wearing them out, or they just become too small to fit. But she will always sit peacefully under the shade of the old pagoda tree, humming the familiar tune and doing her needle work, never holding me back from playing around.
We run barefoot along the river bank—the neighbor boys and I, leaving behind footprints of strange shapes—to chase a little chubby gray hair which boldly jumps out of the grass. My dog is busy digging holes on the mound, confused at the odor that is getting thicker and thicker—lizards, I guess. By the time smoke curls up from distant chimneys, we start for home, walking against the sunset. But the point is, where are my sandals?
The Fashion in a small village is, perhaps, when it suddenly dawns on you that all your friends have owned a pair shoes—similar new style."They are really lovely shoes, mom. Those two."So I bring them home happy and fulfilled, try them on, look in the mirror, and nervously move around. Definitely it's satisfying not to lack what your friends all have, but it turns out that I feel awkward every time I put them on—especially when all my shirts and my jeans and my socks are not lovely enough to match them. Two weeks later they become my souvenirs of grade five, lying quietly in the locked cabinet.
A sharp cry outside the classroom breaks the silence inside. Some curious classmates rush out despite the coldness to see what happened: a well-dressed girl on her high heels slipped on the ground of the corridor which, by request of our head teacher, was just carefully mopped and coated with a thin layer of ice. She is soon taken to the hospital for a check-up, but the rest of us never quiet down that night, arguing about who is to blame, her delicate high heels or our strict head teacher.
"For me there are no high heels high enough." she tells me. I can't quite understand my friends' obsession to high heels, though it's indeed a pleasure to see girls teetering across the road on them. Tempted by curiosity, I have my first pair of high heel shoes delivered to my home during the holiday, and with them on I persuade myself to ramble around for a couple of hours—though in a manner of forced casualness. Unsurprisingly, history repeats itself. I start to feel awkward about my postures and gestures and expressions and all that are exposed to others, while I hate it this way, deeply. So unsurprisingly again, I put them away as another sacrifice on my way to be …lovely.