The Other Shoe

Yessss!  Hot pink high heel!
Yessss! Hot pink high heel!

In my 41 years of time on this planet, I’ve learned that sometimes luck drops that first shoe, and it’s an adorable hot pink, peep-toe heel adorned with rhinestones, and you squeal with excitement and do a little happy dance because it’s so freakin’ cute. You just can’t wait for that other one so you can show off the pair. Then you get knocked out with a size fifteen, puke-green, steel-toe combat boot that’s trudged through red mud and horse shit.

I actually didn’t learn this lesson, though, until five years ago. On Monday, March 3, 2008: The Husband and I were on our way to work, (Yes, we worked at the same place for the first ten years we’ve been together — a little over eight of them as husband and wife. Yet we’re still both alive.) and as I sat at the stop sign in our subdivision, I thought about how things in our life seemed to be working out. Over the previous weekend, my mother-in-law had told us that she was moving out of our house and into her own place. I love my in-laws and I know they love me, so I know they don’t begrudge me when I say that on that morning, I was pretty excited about getting our house back to ourselves.

So I’m at the stop sign, remarking to myself on how awesome things are going to be starting the next weekend, and this little pessimistic nugget pops up: Gee, I hope nothing bad happens to spoil it.

I don’t deny that I have my Debbie Downer streak. Hello? There’s a reason I had to get treatment for my anxiety/depression. My dad is the true Negative Nathan of the family. Sometimes we call him Mr. Doom and Gloom, so I realize I get some of this from him.

However, on that morning, after that thought crept into my brain, I immediately flushed it out by saying, “You know what, Carla? You can’t think like that. Something good is on the horizon, and you can’t let yourself sink into negativity!” I went to work all proud of myself for squelching those pessimistic thoughts.

An hour and a half later, we found out our company was being shut down and we were all losing our jobs.

Just in case I might have forgotten how fast things can turn around, I got a little reminder. A couple of weeks ago, The Husband got a sweet promotion that included a little bit more money than he asked for. In addition to our excitement, we were pretty floored by it because stuff THAT GOOD just doesn’t seem to happen to us, and I was so glad he finally got recognized for a job well done. Then that nagging thought came back to me. Hey! How’s that pink high heel? Any sign of that combat boot yet? I tried to ignore it. I covered it up with, “Well, I’ll enjoy this while I can.” And I had about three weeks to do that.

This morning, I’m going to the hospital because my mom is having a full hysterectomy to remove a plum-sized tumor on one of her ovaries. Bad news: There’s a fifty percent chance it’s malignant. Good(ish) news: If it is, it’s most likely Stage 1, and the doctor is 99 percent sure it’s contained at the ovary. Better news: If it’s cancer, she is all kinds of lucky to have it caught this early, and she probably won’t be able to play Powerball because she just used up her fortune allotment and would be wasting her money.

I stress and I cry and I worry not because I’ve convinced myself she has cancer; I know there’s a chance she doesn’t — but it’s a fifty percent chance. You can’t say cancer is or isn’t likely because the chance is equal either way. Flip a coin. Heads? You’re fine! Tails? Sorry. I’m unsettled thinking that the same odds a football team has of kicking or receiving are the same odds over my mother’s health.

Here’s to hoping and praying she gets to kick that sadistic son of a bitch back to the one-yard line — and maybe some sort of Jadaevon Clowney-esque way of keeping him back there (Gamecock football reference for the uneducated).

And if the odds do flip in her favor, I suppose I’ll keep looking for that combat boot. Perhaps if it hits, I’ll even wear it around.

I’d break my neck in a pair of high heels anyway.


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