Written By: Mia L. Hazlett

Click clack, click clack, click clack all the way down the hall. Clip, clip, clip, clip, clip up the stairs. Bup, bup, bup, bup, softly against the carpeted lobby floor. I stand outside the opened double doors and schmooze the best I can. I toss my head with a giggle here, I give my beauty pageant wave there, and nibble at the hor’s devours; careful not to smudge my lipstick. I jump into conversations that are finishing punch-lines to dry jokes. I make sure to find my way to the President and CFO, for without whom; I would have no reason to be here tonight.

It will be my first award ever and nothing can take me off of my cloud. I’m feeling fabulous in my fitted, strapless, black cocktail dress. To be honored in front of all of my colleagues is such a dream come true. People begin to make their way into the hall and find their seats. I decide to dash into the ladies room for one last look, before I stand in front of hundreds. My lipstick remains perfect…maybe a touch more gloss, my hair needs no attention. I turn to see my rival step out of the small stall. It has been a bitter battle between us, but the better person is about to reap the rewards…oh yeah-that’s me, I giggle to myself. I pay her no mind and allow her and company to point and snicker at me all they want. Jealousy is so yesterday. I step into the bathroom stall.

As I pull up my stockings I am appalled at the horrible atrocity that has slipped my attention. WHY!? HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN TO ME? NOT TONIGHT. NOOOO!! I blink to clear my eyes in the hopes I am just seeing things. I pull at my stockings and rush out of the stall. It is still there…this is happening! Okay, okay don’t panic. NO PANIC! OH MY GOD! Please not tonight, just not tonight. There are too many people in that room that I have stepped on to get here. We are a damn shoe design company, for Christ’s sake. My marketing has gotten us the top clients, some of whom are sitting out there right now, some of who backed me on receiving this award.

I walk out to the lobby and except for the late stragglers, everyone is already seated. My table is in the very front with the President and CFO, along with their wives. And then there will be me and my stood-me-up-last-night-with-a-phone-call date. These men…my bosses run the shoe industry. There is no getting in any door if you disappoint…humiliate them. This is bad. This is really, really bad.

I saunter to the front with my painted on fake smile. Strapless and no shawl was a wonderful idea, until my bathroom horror. Now I am sweating bullets and there is absolutely nothing I can do to cover my perspiration. I see the bathroom bitch laugh at me one more time with her stupid little bathroom crew giving me condescending applause. How juvenile of them. How petty. Well damn, if they noticed, everyone else has or will too. AHHH!

I slide right into my seat and into instant conversation. Again I toss my head and giggle, give a few, “Oh Bobs”, and carry on hair conversations with their rehearsed wives. My mind is distracted enough for me to enjoy the chicken cordon bleu, until Bob is called to the podium on stage to “say a few words about tonight’s recipient.” My eyes peruse the audience, only to land on Miss Witchy face and her evil goblins. I give a glare to their snide gestures, but I can’t believe my fashion faux pau. Bob calls me to the stage, so I may receive my award. I stand and wave from my seat and take slow cautious steps. And the moment I’ve been waiting for all my life instantly ceases to exist. Because tonight was not only the night I was going to receive my reward, but it was going to be the premier of our new shoes to our clients. The problem is I wore half of both sets. I clip, clip, clip up the steps, and introduce Bob to my fashion nightmare. “On our left we have Navy and on the right we have Black. Navy and Black, this is Bob, he was my boss.” My entire life was ruined by a pair of shoes.

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