Character Sketch: Dana’s Dilemma
Posted on December 28, 2012
Dana looked down at her feet, just sticking out of the bottom of her evening gown. Justin swore that they looked fine, but they’d almost kept her home tonight. It had been OK at work – she kept checking them throughout the day, monitoring their puff and fluid levels, tensing and releasing them slowly in her shoes like the podiatrist and psychiatrist recommended. They felt normal, maybe a little stiffer than she would have liked, but they didn’t distract her from her meetings and emails.
She even managed to go out to lunch with Toni and laugh at the table of middle-aged men next to them who tried to buy them desert. First of all, did they look like women who ate desert on a regular basis, and secondly, they both had rocks on their fingers and clearly all the money they needed. She didn’t think about her feet for almost an entire hour. It was on the commute home that things began to sour. As she walked she could feel them swelling inside her $500 heels that had a variety of orthotic devices jerry-rigged inside them (although they were practically invisible), with her disgusting bunions protruding out the sides.
By the time she reached the apartment she was practically in tears – how was she supposed to enjoy the Children’s Memorial Benefit Dinner with these monstrous hooves attached to her? Justin got home, saw immediately what was wrong, handed her a Xanax with a vodka on the rocks and insisted that she down it before they got in the car. It helped a little, and she could see the relief on his face when they arrived at the hotel and she was able to stand through cocktails and make small talk without worriedly looking down every thirty seconds. But when they were called to dinner and she realized that the table cloth was just a little too short on her side and she would be able to see them during dinner, she immediately lost her appetite. Who could focus on broccolini and misshapen petite fillets when they were deformed themselves, stuck with two appendages that appalled and repelled, kept her up at night and occupied almost every minute of her day?
Justin tapped her wrist sharply, the signal the psychiatrist had given him to snap her out of an obsessive loop. She looked up at him and watched as he pulled the tablecloth toward them, obscuring the top of her feet and knocking over the glass of wine of a woman across from them. She smiled gratefully. He really was trying to help – she should have a few more drinks, steel herself and try to dance for one or two songs. She would focus on his face and the music and the people around them and maybe she wouldn’t need to look down at all.