Still in my bikini, I skipped barefoot through the grass and flailed my happy arms in the air.
It was an hour before my lunch date with a man I’d never met.
Planning to show up without crutches, I tested my injured heel by walking circles in my apartment on toes and bended knees. Along with my newly chopped-off hair, I may as well have been the toe-walking lovechild to Jar Jar Binks and Peewee Herman. I tried to ignore this notion and think of my new gamine charm. But every which way I turned, I caught the reflection of the ludicrous Peewee walk and hairdo in one of the many mirrors around my apartment.
Mirrors are an easy decorating element, which is my reason for having a bunch, but they give people the impression you’re insufferably vain. Now, these bastard mirrors were making me grimace at every step, and it had nothing to do with my hurt heel. See, I was supposed to have stayed away from scissors. That’s because no one should cut their own hair unless they mean to look like an insane asylum escapee with a thing for electric sockets.
I was also supposed to stay off my entire right foot, not just the heel. But I tend to suck at anything I’m “supposed” to do.
So at the time I badly bruised my heel, though we’re supposed to get such injuries x-rayed to make sure our talus didn’t migrate to our big toe, I did not. That’s because I hadn’t signed up for health insurance back when I was supposed to.
Jumping down barefoot from a four-foot wall in my bikini at 1 a.m. in the first place? Yeah, I’d say I wasn’t supposed to.
Nor was I supposed to continue afterwards to hobble around the vast tropical lawns of the resort for fun. But I hadn’t been ready for the night’s euphoria to end.
My non-boyfriend whom I’m probably not supposed to write about, had planned an elaborate romantic evening — by accident. It was an “accident” because for two long years, he had dedicated himself to the “non” part of non-boyfriend. The guy even made sure to never say “happy birthday” to me — except in lieu of “you’re welcome” on all the other 364 days that weren’t my birthday.
Only one of us found this funny.
So sunset dinner at the table by a wall of windows directly on top of the shimmering marina? Accident — surely. The concert that followed of quirky love songs against a sky silhouetted by masts and palm trees, the audience made up entirely of couples? Accident and accident.
Naturally, our suite that was secluded and surrounded by lush tropical gardens was an accident too.
At the end of the night and three glasses of wine in, I got into my bikini and he put on his swim shorts so we could frolic through the dewy grass to the pool. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to date someone thirteen years younger than me. But running ahead of me through the gardens with broad-shoulder V-shape perfection and a tiny white towel wrapped around his hip, he was the personification of — you guessed it — fucking Adonis.
In the hot tub, I felt both slender and curvy. My skin glistened with moonlit water and Adonis held me close against his sculpted chest. Our eyes shone wildly as we gazed into each other’s soul.
Or else we were lewd and drunk.
Either way, the other hotel guests cleared out of the hot tub and left us to our two-person bacchanal.
Soon, Adonis went to get us more wine and I took a swim under the moon in the long, tranquil pool. At the other end, two women swam in summer dresses. The dresses bulged to their necks while they taught a two-year-old how to swim using a giant donut floatie. The scene wasn’t in keeping with my sense of after-midnight idyll, so I decided to head back to our suite with its magical marina view. I figured I would intercept Adonis on the way.
Still in my bikini, I skipped barefoot through the grass and flailed my happy arms in the air. Every once in a while, I softly called out beyond the enormous tropical leaves lining the lawn, “Adonis! Adonis! Is that you?”
“Yeah?” Finally came his disembodied voice. I sidled through the low-hanging leaves and found myself on a four-foot wall standing above a path where Adonis stood with our drinks. He was about to set them down and help me. But then his eyes rounded and he urgently shook his head “no” because I was poised to jump down without help. And I did.
I landed with my knees bent low so I wouldn’t hurt them. Meanwhile, I didn’t worry about the awful thwack when the concrete slapped against my bare heels. As I tried to straighten up, my right leg buckled.
I expected my heel to stop smarting in a matter of minutes, so I ignored Adonis imploring to carry me and continued to happily hop around the gardens and path. I was too caught up in the night’s excitement to notice my former sexy bikini hip sway had transformed into more of a clubfooted undulation. Oh the pain masked by wine.
The next day, I simply couldn’t walk — not to get a glass of water, wash my hands or grab a pen.
Adonis carried me out of the resort. I gave him a brusque squeeze goodbye and without letting on, I meant it to be for the last time. Once I was situated in my car, Adonis handed over the tropical pattern cane he had picked out for me at the pharmacy.
With happy-go-lucky Adonis, all was well as long as nothing was said. But if I so much as uttered the word “feeling,” he had a way of turning on me. I, who experienced love and joy like a child without fear, found myself attached to a boy who feared attachment like it had flesh-tearing teeth. If I stopped pretending I was being “accidentally” romanced, I ran the risk of being speared to death. This left me no place to go but away.
I drove off, thankful the driving part of my foot worked. Whatever heartache I felt, I tricked myself and melded it with the pain coming from my heel.
In my apartment, I managed to get about when absolutely necessary with the use of the cane and furniture surfaces. For example, it only took me five minutes to reach the bathroom sink when I urgently needed a session by the mirror with scissors aimed at my head. I proceeded to go at my hair while balancing my entire right leg on my big toe.
But mostly, I stayed beached by a sea of sheets on my bed with my foot wrapped, iced and elevated. I knew once it healed, I’d never view the act of taking a normal step the same way as before.
Within a couple of days, I texted my buddy, Dimo:
Lidia arrived before Dimo. The crutches she brought opened up my world so much that we decided to celebrate with happy hour at a nearby Hollywood bar. So I texted Dimo:
At the bar, I ordered one of my two standbys, a drink called Stockholm Syndrome whose name I liked more than its taste. It seemed appropriate any time I felt captive in a less-than-healthy relationship. My other standby was the Dilettante, delicious and perennially apropos — until of course, my creative endeavors launched me professionally, which was “supposed to be” any day now, barring walls from which to hurl my bikini body.
While staring at the rosemary sprig at the bottom of my Stockholm Syndrome, my phone rang with a call from Dimo. He sounded frantic.
“Where is this place? I keep circling the block! Since when is there a hospital in Hollywood?!”
Hospital? I burst into laughter. The whole time he’d been thinking he was coming to pay me a hospital visit! I mouthed to Lidia that Dimo thought “St. Felix” was a hospital. Her porcelain-doll face lit up below her dark hair, which unlike mine, was a successful pixie cut.
“Yeah,” exclaimed Lidia. “The hospital of booze.”
We laughed and laughed until Dimo arrived. And whether there’s truth to the medicinal properties of laughter or not, my heel improved exponentially every day after that. My heart, of course, was another matter.
By the time my lunch date came a week later, I’d begun using less of the crutches. My date was through Tinder with an age-appropriate man. The idea was to meet someone new in order to eradicate the Adonis pathways from my brain.
According to his profile, the Tinder man was tall. So just to see, I put on my pale yellow high-heel mules even though one is supposed to wear sensible shoes while one’s foot is on the mend. To my delight, I discovered that I could wear the slinky mules and not limp. Since they offered no heel support whatsoever, it was just like walking on my toes.
I probably wasn’t supposed to feel as smug as I did about not having to show up to lunch in flip-flops and Ace bandage.
Next, I tackled the matter of my hair, subjected to days of staggered chopping by hobbling cabin-feverish me. I texted the Tinder man:
It wasn’t an ineffective tactic and lunch wasn’t terrible.
But in the end, I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to look for people to replace other people. I never saw that particular Tinder man again.
* * *
You’ll probably want me to have learned something.
Here’s what I’ve learned: Nothing about men. Nothing about haircutting.
But I did learn that the heel bone is big, and has an ugly name — calcaneus.
Speaking of big and ugly, you’ll get a big ugly calf if you’re forced to use only one foot to get around. And a sad puny one on the other side.
Also, don’t worry about missing exercise while injured because you’ll break into a sweat just by hopping to the bathroom on one leg.
Finally, I learned the internet hates you. Look up heel injury and you’ll “walk” away convinced not only that you’ll be permanently disfigured and arthritic, but the heel bone connected to the leg bone and all will throw your entire body into misalignment of Quasimodo proportions.
If that doesn’t fill you with proper self-pity, just talk to my mother who might tell you:
“I pray you’re not crippled for long-term or even life — you’re so stupid.”
- See above.
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