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Her leg ached.
Her waist ached.
Her neck ached.
Dinma was all shades of uncomfortable and didn't know which part of herself to rely on. She turned her neck in quick rotations in an attempt to reduce the ache but it did her no good. She cursed within. This was supposed to be a fun and happy day, not one filled with aches from all parts of her body. The fact that She had been an usher did no good for her. Two hours is a long time to have been standing. She sighed resignedly. The girl beside her turned and smiled at her sympathetically, she managed a weak smile in return. The Security officials were still perambulating, disappearing and reappearing, she dared not sit. If she wasn't spotted from the podium, the officials would certainly see her. Only one person had been excused to sit because of illness and it had been announced to avoid display of smart stupidity.
She picked the ceremony booklet from her seat for the umpteenth time to check progress. There was still three pages of about 500 names before hers. Urgh, she growled. She pulled her shoes and cursed at her lecturers that drummed into their subconscious the so-called compulsory rule of putting on heels which turned out a lie. How pained she was when she came to the venue and saw flats riding on each other. Even the slay queen she had done externship with was on flats. They could have atleast considered the turmoil people with big legs would go through before lying. Searching the whole market looking for a precise description of shoe that will fit their feet, spending so much, only for it all to be a lie. Her Mum had said their motive must have been to give them an elegant and unique look. She could care less about elegance, so far she had shoes on. She sighed again. Her neighbour turned to her and let out a chuckle. The girl, who was also on heels had been standing at alert, hands akimbo, and dinma was beginning to wonder if she was human.

“Why don’t you squat if your legs ache too much, after all, they said no sitting, they didn’t mention squatting and that cannot just be inferred”

Vicky smiled and nodded. “Thanks” she replied. But she decided against squatting. Her fellow girl was standing like a soldier. Where did her own laziness come from? And to think that she had been an usher. No, she was going to remain standing.

Another thirty minutes passed of her rocking herself back and forth and she finally gave up. Not everyone was born for it and her role model neighbour was already beginning to shuffle herself too. She pushed her seat back a bit for space, squatted down and  put her face down on her laps. She had never thought squatting would ever feel so pleasurable. Almost immediately, a voice interrupted her heavenly relief.

“What are you doing?” he asked
She startled and looked up. He looked every bit like someone that had no idea what security actually meant. she cursed herself for having stood all these hours feeling intimidated, thinking it was actual security guards or intellectuals that were moving around. She almost sighed then caught herself. No need being disrespectful but all her years of study certainly wasn’t a waste.

“How do you mean sir?"

"What are you doing" he repeated gesturing at her crouched frame.

"Isn’t it obvious already? Squatting of course” she replied

“Are you supposed to squat”

“I know I can squat, legs are still functioning.  I don’t know about “supposed to”, maybe Self image and ache can argue that”.

He looked confused and she feigned a smile at him. Her neighbours had started to watch. He hesitated, thinking.
“I know you people were asked to stand and you are not standing and we were asked to ensure you stand”

“I also know we weren’t asked not to squat. We were only prevented from sitting on our seats and I’m not sitting” she replied  and placed her head back on her laps. Her neck was beginning to ache again.

“Ma, please, get up, my job is to ensure you remain standing” he insisted.

She growled lightly then sighed.
Enemies of progress, she muttered getting up. “I hope your job includes ensuring that I don’t faint while standing” she snorted.
He furrowed his brows in annoyance. She hissed a little too loud to cause some heads within earshot to turn.

“you can go now sir, she added, I’m now standing as the almighty benchers instructed you to ensure that I do. So you can leave, I don’t like the unwanted attention please.” He eyed her for several seconds, she held his stare, then he turned and walked away shaking his head.

Whatever forever, she hissed.

She immediately realized that the fifth row from behind hers was already moving out. She quickly put on her shoes and her feet wobbled. She said a small prayer that she wouldn’t fall at the podium.

The shoes were too high but being the only one fitting the description given and having spent the whole day in the market searching, she just bought it. Then a friend told her she could reduce the heel at any good shoe mender’s store. Luckily she knew one and the next day, she took it for the reduction. He didn’t do a fantastic work which is maybe why the recent wobbling but he did a good work nonetheless. The heel was still high but a normal high. And from that day till the day she travelled for the call, she had practiced movement on the heels every morning. Yet, immediately she stepped into it at the venue, her movement had began and remained wobbly.

Her row was moving to join the aisle and it was then she realized that they were moving faster than the name caller. She didn’t care so long as she made movement at all. As she started to move, her legs wobbled the more. It must have been all that standing, she cursed. She tried to steady herself as they walked to the podium. A bencher was eyeing her with contempt and she wondered if something was wrong with her dressing. Then she realized it was the shoes. She most probably noticed that she was on heels and yet having difficulties with it. She then wanted to shout that it was her lecturers that made her wear heels but knew that would certainly be the end of her call. Unfit and improper. She took the first step to climb the stair on the elevated platform and almost fell. Her reflex was quick and she caught herself. She audibly exhaled. The girl before her, her nosy neighbour, who had surprisingly been quiet during her altercation with the security guard shook the waiting hands and moved past. She carefully climbed the next step, smiled at the waiting bencher, shook his hands and walked away feeling victorious. She got to the tail end of the podium, confirmed her name and took her certificate. She turned to leave but heard it late, in her subconscious. She couldn’t explain how it happened but in a split second, as she made to step down the podium, she tumbled down, her certificate and wig flying away from her hands into the air and her gown wrapping her in a puddle. She heard ohh, ahh, heyy and then laughter followed. She unfolded herself from her gown, stood up, adjusted her clothes, faked a smile and walked forward to get her certificate and wig from a kind colleague that had picked it. The name caller said something about making sure we can handle the fashion assesory we wear for calls as a simple flat would do, a thunderous laughter erupted before he then sympathized with her. Her heel had bent and she had realized it late and took another step on the strength that it was okay. Being a novice in the heel wearing industry, there was no known trick to have avoided the fall. Now she understood why her feet had been wobbly. It wasn't inadequate practice on heels but a heel about to bend. She remembered having thought same but then blaming the plush rug. She pulled the other shoe and took them both in her hands. Her feet felt so heavy as she dragged them towards her seat trying so hard to only smile. That security man might be somewhere having a field day of laughter, she thought. She cared less, atleast she brought laughter to very tired bodies.


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