Walking Across the Stage: Shoe Story

6 06 2012

Yes, this is what I imagined the stage of my high school graduation ceremony to look like./ Photo: IllustrationSource.com

“Those shoes are so hot,” exclaimed my best friend. “But how are you going to walk across the stage with them?” At the time of her original question, I deadpanned Annie* with one of those looks that could only mean “are you serious?” and kindly informed her that I would have no problem with my new silver, strappy 4 inch sandals. Twenty minutes later, and with our procession into the UNO Lakefront Arena quickly coming upon our graduating class, I was now ridiculously nervous.

What if I hadn’t practiced my strut enough, and I looked like one of those girls who’s never walked in heels? Or what if (gasp!) I actually tripped on. the. stage? It was more than I could handle, and I gradually began to psych myself out. Here I was, standing in front of the line (yay for a last name early on in the alphabet!), and I was practically sweating through my graduation cape. This was no easy feat either, since I had on a particularly cool feeling, flowerey summer dress, and the powers-that-be had managed to crank the AC to infinity in the arena. Yet, I was starting to sweat so much, I was worried that not only would I trip on stage, but I’d also be the girl who tripped on stage with the huge arm pit sweat stains.

Seriously, I was wreck.

But as we began walking down the makeshift aisle they’d made for us, my nerves slowly went away. “What was I so scared about really,” I thought to myself. “This was nothing new! I walked around in heels all the time.” And as I sat with the rest of my class, having made it through the first part of my test without any issues, I knew I’d have no problems whatsoever when the time came for me to get on that stage. That stage was going to be my runway! And I…. was going to be Naomi.

We sat there for what seemed like hours, but was really only minutes, especially since our valedictorian and salutatorian were nice enough to do a combo speech. And then it was time for the names. And the walking. My row was the first one to get in line near the stage, and as I watched some of my classmates seamlessly walk across the stage, my confidence continued to swoon about the likelihood of me not making a massive fool of myself in front of the maybe 700 people in attendance.

I raised my head (like the good society lady my grandmother taught me to be throughout the years) and began my Naomi Campbell walk. Up the steps. To the middle of the stage. Step by step, I made my way to my principal and that diploma he held in his hand. Step by step, my smile widened as I realized not only was I receiving my high school diploma, but there would be no hidden rocks on the stage to trip me up.

Away from the middle of the stage, I walked, confident that the worst was behind me. Grinning to my family. Palming the diploma in my hand. And then it happened.

I missed a step.

Horror meet my face, please.

I tried to quickly gather myself and pretend as if the world didn’t see the mishap that occurred. I hurried down the rest of the steps and practically flew to my seat. “I didn’t actually fall,” I told myself. “A mere trip wouldn’t register on anyone’s radar.” And I comforted myself with that proposition until I saw my family after the ceremony.

My mom, bless her heart, ran up to me with such pride in her eyes. “I’m so happy for you baby,” she cried out. “And don’t worry, I’m sure no one saw you trip down those steps.”

Right. No one saw but it was the first thing you mentioned, mom? I could have died right then and there. But I wouldn’t have bequeathed the curse of those shoes to my worst enemy. So I stood there and smiled like all was okay – vowing never to wear them again.

* Name was changed.

PS: If you’d like to be featured as a brief shoe story (anonymous or not), send me a pic of your favorite pair of shoes and information detailing a moment when you wore them. You can send the information to me @darbybaham on Twitter or email me at contact@darbybaham.com. *NOTE: I may have to contact you more for information, depending on the details of your story*

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2 responses

7 06 2012
Brenda

I actually LOLed at this one. I can relate all the way.

8 06 2012
dbaham

Thanks Brenda!! I’m glad I can laugh about it now too (11 years later). At the time, I was pure HORRIFIED. LOL.

oh, do you have a similar story? do tell!

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