Better Up than Down the Staircase Pt. I

“Please go on without me. I’ll see you down in front,” I tell my companions even though I don’t know how I’m going to safely make it. It’s either that or land on top of them. My bifocals are not the ideal accessory for this three-flight descent. And these shoes! A disastrous combination when trying to show up at a gala affair in one lovely piece. I can’t judge exactly where to put my foot down. How deep is the riser? Will the tread be wide enough for these shoes or will I have to place my foot down at an angle? Perhaps I should have opted for less-fashionable flats… We are five women of a certain age who don’t really know each other—only of each other through our mutual friend. We’ve been invited to attend a dinner and ceremony for this friend who is being presented with an honorary degree of Doctorate of Humane letters at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. We five have agreed to meet in our dormitory hallway precisely at 5 p.m. to go down the stairs together. We greet each other excitedly with compliments on our various ensembles; we’re all wearing high heeled shoes appropriate to the occasion. I wonder if they’re as concerned about how they look in their eyewear as I am; I wonder if they’re as anxious about the stairs as I am…