How to destroy your manicure & pedicure in 11 minutes

I don’t think I can quite articulate the profound sadness in my bones right now.

But I figured I could take my sad bones to the bar and make them less hollow.

So it was pouring, as it is still the rainy season here … and why wouldn’t it rain when I’m leaving work late?

I was wearing my favorite flip flops, which have that designation for the company I was with and the location we were in.

It was A Day, one filled with lies and disappointment and the beginnings of emotion I will attribute to the (welcome) arrival of my period and not because Things were starting to occur to me on a very subconscious level that don’t belong in my brain.

My destination was my favorite bar I haven’t been to in years. Hoping for a little distraction I could usually find there. And pizza. That too.

The water was near six inches deep at some intersections as I walked carefully along the bricks. But in a blinded moment as I dashed across Federal, I landed in a wet pond of deep sand where I’d seen a crane digging earlier in the day.

Goddamn it.

I lifted my foot and my shoe was instantly gone in the wet quicksand. My beloved souvenir.

I am sure this is a metaphor I’m not supposed to miss the significance of.

A wonderful gentleman saw me and opened his newspaper over his head and helped me dig. I held my umbrella over him but the shoe was long gone at the corner of Fifth and Atlantic.

RIP, shoe.

We gave up as the rains intensified. My long red nails were now jagged and half-bare, and my matching red toenails — painted two days ago — were scrubbed raw by the sand too.

Of course, at the point you’re barefoot on you knees in quicksand in the middle of town, dignity is the last thing on your mind. The tears that come — and boy do they — are for other reasons.

I turned back, barefoot at this point. But no one notices the shoeless on the streets of Delray Beach. If you’re not barefoot, you’re not a local.

But my feet are not calloused like the beach bums’ and I slid on the slippery bricks. I thought of my friend with whom I bought the shoes and how I would never have those shoes or those moments again.

And I wanted to curl up in a ball and die a little.

I got to the railroad tracks not too far away and had an overwhelming urge to reach out and share my story. To not be alone in the loneliest moment of them all.

But it was too wet and I was drenched and my phone got soaked through my clothes. My hands were cold and shaking, and I couldn’t manage to text …

Not that I could see the screen through the raindrops on my eyelashes.

So I called and left a message. And as I later learned, we will never know what I said … because the train came and the call cut out.

Well, I’ll know.

I watched that train from not 10 feet away, wisps of my drenched hair drying from its breeze.

I’ll never forget that moment. I told myself I’d remember it forever, whether it was the moment I died inside once and for all or whether it inspired me to run away from it all.

I don’t know that outcome just yet. I feel numb. Which for me is as familiar and as comforting as anything.

He texted a little later to say I sounded sad and to ask if I was ok. I said I was ok. I had nothing else to say. I’d left it in the message that will never be heard.

I put my phone away. The moment passed.

A couple blocks later, I broke back into the office, cleaned myself up and grabbed my favorite heels that I’d abandoned Wednesday in favor of those beloved flip flops after another particularly trying day.

Self-rescuing princess, every time.

At the loneliest moment of your life and saddest day of at least the last year, all you want is someone to be there.

And that person is always, always you.

I think what I realized on the railroad tracks is that some of us are simply meant to walk this earth alone.

Oddly, that made me slightly less sad.

I cried part of the way home, though. But I stopped for gas and my tears dried with the rain as I made my way further north.

And now, dripping-wet underwear (and not for good reasons), jacked-up nails and no booze in my belly aside, it’s like today never happened.

That’s the good thing about being alone. If no one witnessed it, you can deny to the death that it ever happened.

Late-night shoe change and still-sandy jeans …


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