The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The reunion, part 8
We reach NYU and decide to walk up 5th Ave to Times Square in time for dinner. We've been walking for five hours. I'm not wearing good shoes. My feet are pinched and the heel's rubbing. I decide that, in order to survive the rest of the day, I need to slip my feet out of the heel of my shoe, and wear my shoes like mules. That works, temporarily.

We stroll through Washington Park on our way back to Broadway and 5th. There's a hot pretzel vendor there. I haven't had a hot pretzel in years. I buy one and share it with Dan. I brush off most of the salt - why is there always so much salt on them? I cover the pretzel with yellow mustard - the way it should be. My mouth bursts as soon as I take a bite. I savor this. The pretzel is just how I remember.

We stroll past luxury apartments on 5th Avenue and I am so jealous of the people who can afford to live there. Sabrina and I are on the lookout for designer boutiques. We wonder how far away Saks and Tiffany's is.

Dan spies an athletic shoe store, and we go in. I'm thinking I should buy something more comfortable for my feet, but brush the thought away. I'm here to buy couture. There are more kinds of athletic shoes here than I've seen in one place, in my life. Dan finds an orange pair of Goodyear Tuscany's! He's ecstatic. They've been on sale for a while, though, and there are none left in his size. He's determined, however, and decides to check out every athletic shoe store from here on in for orange Tuscany's.

We shop at Armani, BCBG, and Juicy Couture. I find a couple of things for myself. Sabrina finds a gorgeous teal dress in Juicy Couture. Yay, I am thinking! I can help Sabrina buy a designer dress.

They don't have any in her size. Their sizes all seem to stop at US size 8. Why is this? Are designers designing to flatter real women, or do they only design for women who can flatter the designs? I am beginning to wonder. I'm starting to feel annoyed with the couture industry, but we continue, undaunted.

We reach the Empire State Building and I take lots of photos. It stands there, like a faithful sentinel, reaching across the ages. The first time I saw it, I was a little girl of 10 and I was excited to see this landmark that I'd only ever seen in the movies. Seeing it again, I was 10 years old.

We stop in a cheesy New York souvenir shop. I purchase some postcards, as I've promised a couple of people that I would send one. Fifteen postcards for a dollar! I pay a dollar per postcard in Sydney. I have momentary economic shock - but in a good way. I pick out 15 postcards - the tackier, the better.

We find a shop that is selling designer samples. Dan finds a Versace shirt and gets it for a quarter of its original price. Sabrina and I look at dresses. $2000 dresses, even at a quarter of the price, are still a bit more than we want to spend, but we're tempted! Still, there's nothing over a woman's size 8. I feel badly that Sabrina's the only one who hasn't walked away with a great couture bargain.

By then, we all feel rather fatigued. My feet are swelling. The constant rubbing on my toes has made them expand to the size of large grapes. My toes are rubbing each other now. It feels really strange.

Ian calls one of his friends who is just getting off work. She's going to meet us on 42nd Street, near Times Square. We continue to walk, past the library, past signs proclaiming Fashion Week, and catch up with Ian's friend Ally. Ally is tall and blonde and pretty and covered with tattoos. Her body is an art gallery.

We decide to get New York pizza. We walk into a place and Dan gets two slices of pizza. He doesn't know about New York style pizza. The slices are twice the size he's used to. He barely finishes his dinner. I'm happy with a slice of pepperoni pizza and my feet are happy to get a break. Ian, Sabrina and Ally happily catch up with each other. Sabrina is introduced as Ian's new wife. I feel like the Old Mother in Law With Aching Feet.

We walk to Times Square. I catch a glimpse of Radio City Music Hall. My grandmother took my sister and me to see The Rockettes when I was 10. The music hall calls to me - I wish I had tickets to see the Rockettes again. We get to Times Square. It's lit up like a Christmas tree. I'm fascinated by the illuminated billboards and marqees. Dan checks out another athletic shoe store. Again, I think of shoes. My toes are literally twice their normal size. My feet are red. I think the arches have fallen. I try not to cry. I realize that we have been walking now, for over 10 hours.

We originally were going to leave the city at 8pm. We stayed until 10pm. We could have stayed all night if it hadn't been for my bad shoes. I'm disappointed that I didn't buy Sabrina anything. We wonder how we will make the train on time if we have to hobble back to Grand Central. Sabrina saves the day and finds us a hire car. I'm ecstatic to be able to sit down. We chat during the journey home and survey our "finds." I am hoping that we will find something for Sabrina tomorrow.

I call Mom and she comes out, late at night, to pick us up at the station. The women ride in the cab, and the guys lie down in the flat bed of the truck. No one sees us - we get away with it this time. I dream that night of New York. It was a fantastic day.

(to be continued...)
posted by Melanie O. at 11:01 AM -
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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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