If The Shoe Fits
By Tipp Hex
Leaving the apartment she began walking, her steps automatic and it was only instinct that made her pause at the kerbside.
Motionless, head down, allowing the noise of the traffic to scrub her mind, she studied her shoes that for some reason seemed far away. She was in dreamland and had become Alice, but the shoes were real; a set of immaculately designed, stiletto heeled Italian dreams.
“To Hell with it,’ she said to no one in particular and stepped out into the road.
Steel flashed millimetres from her delicately painted toenails encased in their seductive Italian leather; startled drivers swore soundlessly from behind windscreens. The wind blast from the cars made her stagger but it didn’t break her stride. She glanced up.
Her goal was in sight.
Somehow she reached the central meridian intact where she stopped and studied the stained painted white line beneath her exquisite shoes. A motorbike sliced past her, hot engine oil stinging her nose. She resumed her walk.
A furrow creased her brow in surprise as she found she had survived. Only then did she allow herself to raise her head and stare.
The shop window ahead seemed to hold the reflection of a stranger; an elegant woman standing motionless amidst the bustling of a crowded pavement. Re-focusing, she peered through the image to see behind the exquisite display of shoes.
She began again to walk, watching in her peripheral vision, almost as if from a corner of her mind, the reflection in the window of her old self converge before vanishing as she entered the shop.
‘These are just in,’ the petite sales assistant enthused, fussing over her. ‘I’m sure you will fall in love with them!’
She was already in love with them. They fitted wonderfully, embracing her feet better than any lover's caress. She was again desirable, to be adored. The pain of the extreme fashion making a lover's demand, capturing her, imprisoning her, demanding proof of her devotion.
She slipped them off, her heart breaking. ‘Let me try those, the ones over there, please.’
‘What? These ones?’
‘Yes, those …’
The assistant looked, then raised her eyebrows in sullen disapproval and acquiesced, placing the chosen shoes at her feet.
Slipping them on, she sighed in contentment. These shoes made no demands.
‘Yes, yes I’ll buy these – and I’ll wear them now.’
'Would you like your own shoes boxed for you?'
She considered; they were after all her favourites. ‘No, throw them away for me, will you?’
‘Certainly, as you wish.’ Again the eyebrows danced in disapproval.
She then left the shop, this time never once looking down as she walked.
Finding her Bank, she made arrangements, drew out all her cash and left. Another half mile and she was outside her lover’s door. She fished out the letter from her coat pocket. Her footprints trailed behind her in her imagination, burning her path back to her home, to the husband asleep in their bed, still blind to the fact that he had lost her a long time ago.
He would never find her. No one from her past would. It was time to be free.
Posting the letter soundlessly, she turned to begin a new life, her comfortable new trainers carrying her effortlessly away.