City-hard Eyes & High-Heeled Shoes


In small towns and safe countries, people make eye-contact, smile, say Hello, help each other out.    I remember the exhausted kids in my urban Toledo high school classes. Mean-faced, war-zone hardened.   I would see those same kids smile and cry with relief when they were safe with their families.  I got to thinking about the city-hard eyes some of us show inside our families.


In China, they used to bend baby girls’ toes under and bind them to their heels so that their feet would fold in half (excruciatingly painful), toes touching heels, into  the fetishized”lotus” shape, about the size of a small fist.  It was a sign of wealth and status — women with “delicate” lotus feet carried around by servants on a litter.  I’m thinking really high, spiked heels are for women who don’t have to walk very far.

Man on the Train

I heard a business man-looking guy on the Amtrak talking openly on his phone about Baltimore, Ferguson, Trayvon, Michael Garner,  burning cities and what principled Americans  would have to do in the absence of justice.   I was glad he wasn’t afraid.  I wrote him a note telling him I appreciated his courage.  I  signed it “The Middle-Aged White Lady across the Aisle.”  He smiled from his eyes and said, God bless you.


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