I got a Christmas present this year. Just one, which is as it should be, since I’ve made it abundantly clear that I’m anti-stuff for stuff’s sake, and that’s what a lot of presents end up being.

The one person I exchange gifts with every year is a dear girlfriend. The one who knows absolutely everything. The one I invited over to sift through my great-grandmother’s jewelry with me when my great-uncle sent it. The one I regularly discuss the meaning of life with over coffee or tea or sometimes champagne and always chocolate or cookies. The only one my age with an only son around my only son’s age. The only one my age who gets the Internet thing and lives it like I do. The one who, though she’s been around the block enough times to have memorized the cracks and initials and paw prints in the sidewalk, can still recall exactly how it felt to play hopscotch with the sun on her back in that very spot. Like me.

My friend, who can glance at a woman’s feet and tell you what year her Chanels date from (after all, the block she’s been going around all these years happens to be in Paris), acutely feels my shoe pain, if not my foot pain. At that fancy conference for superwomen we both attended in October (the one I bought the dorky shoes for), we stole a moment to gawk at and discuss the supershoes (which she later documented).

I spent the last week of December and the first week of January horizontal; doctor’s orders, feet misbehaving. Her gift to me, which I didn’t get till I was up and around, was a diminutive stiletto-heeled sandal in honor of my feet’s glory days. She slipped a note into the box telling me never mind about the stilettos, I could always have this one to dance with me.

I told her “I totally would have worn this shoe to a 4th of July barbecue,” and she said “I know.”

(The Ms. Independence shoe is part of a collection of tiny shoes you can find at Just the Right Shoe.)