Here I am, my 4-year-old self, on the green-carpeted floor, the sun pouring over me like water over a flower. I coo with pleasure as the sunlight highlights the pictures on my skinny “Golden” book with pages ruffled from turning them so many times.
The spine is broken, but I don’t care. I caress the cover of a beautiful lady with golden hair, a pink bow-shaped mouth, and a soft blue dress that fits tightly on her body until it opens wide and flows down to her toes.
I squeal the title out loud.
Like a cat with cream, I lap up the pictures of the pretty girl with ashes on her face. My mom reads this book to me so many times that I’ve memorized the words and repeat them loudly and emotionally.
The evil stepmother scares me, with her pointy chin, thin wavy lips, and puffy hair. She doesn’t like me – I mean, Cinderella – and I’ve never met anyone before who doesn’t like me.
The prince? Huh, what’s the big deal? He has flat hair and a flat face and I pass by his page quickly.
But I do worry.
I peer down at my tiny 4-year-old feet. My dad says I’m going to grow up to be a big girl.
But I don’t want my feet to grow up, too.
Years later, my fear of big feet grows as the rest of my body lengthens and widens and curves. Throughout high school I wear shoes a size smaller than comfortable.
I want a boyfriend by the age of 15, but my feet are too big!
Heels come next, because beautiful ladies wear tiny shoes with spiky tall heels. Those women are always invited to the ball.
I become Cinderella (in a way) at a pageant and wear my hair up like hers, although I can’t find any glass slippers.
But the ball (re disco dance) doesn’t quite match my expectations.
I begin to wear bigger shoes that allow my toes to breathe a sigh of relief. I begin to grow into myself.
Years later, I hear my tall statuesque daughter brag about her size 9 shoes, unafraid to stand in sturdy heels that bring her almost even with her 6-foot-plus husband.
And I realize something astounding.
And with relief, I celebrate the fact that my daughter ‘s first book was . . .
Each Peach Pear Plum.
Most images thanks to Google and Disney.