In high school, it never crossed my mind that being mathematically challenged could elicit physical pain, lest blisters. During the torture of math class, I often thought to myself, “when am I going to use this once I graduate?” My goading subconscious that prompted me to cheat off my unknowing neighbors (because Trav was in AP math classes 🙄) was quick to always answer my rhetorical question with a laugh before shouting, “NEVER.”

How I now see the irony.

I had believed that “never” till this past weekend (mostly because I have Trav who solves all my math problems still to this day). Trav and I stayed at a local downtown Wichita hotel and I’d researched diners for Sunday brunch. With rave reviews, Doo-Dah Diner was the place to go. And according to Google, it was 0.5 miles from our hotel. A 3-minute drive it said.

Me (in my head): We can walk 0.5 miles. It will be fun! It was vivid, like a memory already made—a romantic scene straight out of the movies. There we’d be…Trav and I, hand in hand, strolling down the sidewalk, surrounded by historical buildings in the middle of a concrete jungle, sharing occasional glances and grand smiles, we’d snap a few pictures of the local flare you only find in urban landscapes, laugh crossing the streets because the countdown on the crosswalk never feels long enough, maybe even stop at the corner and he’d kiss me senseless. It was going to be grand, y’all.

Have I told you that expectations are real-life trolls?! Because they are. Seriously.

Reality went like this…

“Are you sure you want to walk there?” Trav’s question came after he’d taken a long perusal of my shoes. “We can drive.”

“Not a chance. It’s only 0.5 miles, babe. That’s cake.” There was no way he was going to talk me out of making my expected scene die a quick death in the span of a three-minute car ride.

“You’re sure?” Trav cleared his throat. “In those shoes?” Disbelief sat on his shoulders as he pushed his hands into the front pockets of his jeans, standing by the door of our hotel room. I knew his play. He was going to patiently wait me out. (We’ve been down this road many’a times. One word: math.)

“Ha, I’ve got this. It’s a half a mile.” I said marching toward the door with a smile. Looking back the smile splitting my face was asinine. And I was definitely a little idiot, too.

Friends, do you know how many steps are in 0.5 miles?

Roughly a 1,000. (Google did the math for me, okay.) To anyone, a thousand steps doesn’t seem too much or even alarming, right? But to someone who lives the extra life, like me—the lady in the 5-inch wedge booties (that have no platform under the toe) who’s entire weight is balanced on the balls of her feet—it’s about 930 steps too many.

“Are you okay?” Trav looked genuinely concerned not even a full block into our walk. We are hand in hand but I’m discretely trying to offload part of my weight into the palm of his hand. Clearly, I wasn’t discreet, nor is the act of using someone as a crutch romantic.

“Me?” I say like someone else is with us. I might have even briefly glanced around (refer to the prideful little idiot part). “Oh, yeah. I’m great.” I can feel my face fighting a grimace, but the mantra ‘fake it till you make it’ is a loud chant inside my skull.

A little over a block in, I’m starting to fall behind. I want to be all dramatic and tell Trav to save himself. Just leave me. By God get a good breakfast. Live a good life, take care of the beauties because I am dead on my feet. But I dig deep and grind my molars while wearing an I-hate-myself-for-wearing-these-shoes-made-straight-from-the-fiery-pits-of-hell-grin.

A block and half later, Trav’s shoulders are shaking. He wants to laugh so bad he looks like someone fighting hypothermia. “Babe, I can go get the truck.”

“No, it’s okay.” For the record, I’m not okay. It’s bad. So bad. My ankles are about to break off, I’m fighting not one but two Charlie horses, the balls of my feet are numb—the scary kind that gives you deep blisters—and I’m terrified to look down because the inferno my calves are creating surely have caught my pant legs on fire. I’m even considering taking off my shoes and saying to hell with any disease I might pick up walking barefoot downtown!

I. Am. Dying. And we’re only about 430 steps in. But it’s halfway, too late to turn back. My pride still has a heartbeat, albeit it’s two seconds from flatlining. Even as sweat gathers on my brow—a chain reaction to fighting pain, I’m not going to admit that I’m dying. The urge to ask Trav for a piggyback is real, weighing heavy on my tongue. You can make it, Sarah—I tell myself over and over. I’m no longer even paying any attention to Trav. I’m stranded on an island of pain. I’m just trying to survive.

It only took 3 blocks and ten steps to break me. I was counting. I’m weak. So weak. I may love the extra life, but walking 1,000 steps in 5-inch heels ain’t for me. Experience says I’ll now take orthopedic shoes paired with any outfit any day!

Once I concede to a full whine fest, hobble a few steps before leaning all of my weight on Trav, basically making him drag me like I’m a fallen soldier the rest of the way, he can no longer silence his laughter. He cackles like a hyena. It screams I told you so, you little idiot.

Before I black out, we make it to the diner where I drown my sorrows in banana foster waffles and the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever tasted. Next to our table is an older couple who smiles at us several times before the woman leans toward us. “Oh honey, we are at the same hotel. We saw you two walking. We nearly stopped to give you a ride.” She stares down at my shoes with fear in her eyes.

I laugh. It’s super loud and Trav launches into how he’d tried to drive here…but you know how it goes, he says looking at the husband. 🙄

Nearly finished with our meal, Trav tells me, nearly choking on laughter, that I looked like T-Rex stalking down the street in my killer booties. I want to be offended, but I mostly want to cry thinking that I’m going to have to walk the 1,000 steps back to the hotel. I have to do it even though Trav is offering to walk back solo to get the truck for me. I’ve learned I am three times as stubborn as I am dramatic. I refuse to have my husband remember our supposed-to-be romantic walk with him strolling thru downtown Wichita holding hands with T-Rex.

Trekking back to the hotel, I nearly blacked out again, but we laughed like hyenas most of the way, and I even committed to a full T-Rex prowl through the streets of downtown which felt so ridiculous, but it made us both cry through fits of laughter. I hope that he remembers that most. 🖤#levityisessential #expectationswillrobyoublindifyouletthem

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