It was one of the most important things to happen in my young preteen life. No, it wasn’t my Quinceañera. It was even more important than that. It was my first pair of tacos! No, not the food with the tortilla, steak, and cilantro (although I do love me a good Mexican taco!). The tacos I am referring to are what we call high heels or tacones. And every young Puerto Rican lady I knew that were my age or older, wore them. I would envy them, clacking across the church foyer with their matching dresses. It gave them such poise, such authority. It made them a true adult.
So, I had begged Mami for some. And finally, my wish had come true. I got my first pair of tacos. They were wedges! Something I could get used to walking in outside, although I already had plenty of practice walking around the house in my stolen mother’s tacos. She always had the best ones. She was the first to give me the longing to wear them. Mami looked so important, graceful, and powerful in her tacos when she went to work and church. She garnered RESPECT in her tacos.
And I wanted to be just like her.
That last one was important for my 5-foot self!
But my favorite tacos were the ones she gifted me when I was about 14 or 15, when she could no longer walk in them because of her back issues. I felt so honored that she had passed them down to me because I knew they were herfavorite too.
They were these Nine West leather sandal wedges. The leather around the straps of my feet and ankles were a café con un poquito de leche brown and the full 4-inch wedge was black. They were the most comfortable, sexy, authoritative, poised, and tall tacos ever. And they could go with any outfit (except those cold Milwaukee winters). I drooled over them until she gifted them to me one late spring day before Easter.
I was heartbroken years later while attending college when the wedge (made of some type of foam) cracked in that Florida non-relenting heat. I held onto them a long time, staring wistfully at them knowing they could never be fixed.
I still dream about them to this day, wishing I could wear them again. The tacos that changed me from a girl into a young woman.