When you’re a kid, everything seems grander; all foreign lands, especially the ones too far. So did America. In a strange way, they feel different from us. I wasn’t able to comprehend what exactly contributed to this feeling as a kid. Now that I think about it, it was many factors. The people there were fairer, they had different lifestyles, food choices, dresses, andTV series. Even their coffee smelled different. And these are just to name a few.
In general, foreign countries with white people have always been intimidating for me.
I was 15 when I first visited the city of New York. My father had a conference in Buffalo for a day. Apart from that, we had an entire week to ourselves to roam around.
I had decided to be at my best for this trip. Everything had to be perfect; my clothes, my shoes, even how I behaved; I tried to take a few lessons online to polish my table manners.
There’s a list of typical New York places that Hollywood movies have gotten us accustomed to. I was fascinated with all of them and Times Square was one such place.
My father arranged for a driver, Martin to take us around on the first day. This little tour included the Times Square as well. Martin was a fair old man, about 70. His sense of humor kept us entertained throughout the drive.
We got there at around 7 pm. I got off the car wearing a navy blue dress with layers. The dress matched with grey ballet pumps which had a silver satin bow on the top.
The place was beautifully lit all over. Billboards and other lights, they all looked magnificent. There was something magical about them.There was also music playing in the background. The combination of the lights, the music, and the people made me feel fuzzy.
Times Square has a big screen where you can spot yourself. Everyone was walking towards it. We joined in too.
It felt almost perfect till I tripped. My sandals broke and they were in no condition to be repaired. I decided to hold them in my hands and kept walking further. This was because I thought that it wouldn’t be as weird as walking without them at all. Whoever saw me wouldn’t at least think that I went around bare feet.
In a while, it started getting inconvenient to carry them around through the crowd. I got tired of carrying them just as an explanation for whoever saw me. I couldn’t help but leave them in a dumpster that I saw in the next few minutes, almost as if I’d forgotten the reason for still keeping them with me in that irreparable form.
The insecurity came back and I started observing people around me to see if they could sense anything wrong with me. To my surprise, nothing had really changed. I wasn’t given any weird looks. I realized that it had all, for a very long time, been just in my head.
I had a good time that evening even after losing my shoes to the dumpster. We got back to the car. Martin, our driver noticed my feet while he held the door for me to get in.
“That is one nice sense of fashion”, he said jokingly. I giggled wholeheartedly.
Featured image artist: Paul Kenton