"She sees the shoes in the department store window every day on her way to and from work…"
First posted to LiveJournal on April 28th, 2011
She sees the shoes in the department store window every day on her way to and from work…there they are, shiny and new. So tempting in all their sumptuous red patent glory. The long, thin heel, the peep toe, the ankle strap that she fantasises about doing up just that little bit too tight…she clears her throat, embarrassed at her own thoughts. Feeling her cheeks grow hot, she hurries away from the window, and to her office down the block.
The first time she saw them she could have sworn that her heart skipped a beat but it was ridiculous, surely, to think that someone could have such a reaction over a pair of shoes. Still, though, she stops each morning and each evening and just looks through the window at the shiny red shoes that make her feel so much.
Soon, thoughts of the shoes consume her every waking moment – at home, at work, at dinner with her parents – until, finally, she gathers the courage to go in to the store to try them on, at least. But once they are on her feet, oh, she cannot leave without them.
Even though she is embarrassed to buy them, she steels herself and takes them to the counter. What must the clerk think as he looks at her? She wants to make excuses, pretend they are a present for someone else (but, maybe, that would be worse – to think she was buying such things for another person) for what would a girl like her do with shoes like these? Her mousey-brown hair and shrinking violet nature are at odds with the sensuality that exudes from every inch of the heels being tucked neatly into a black cardboard box, nestling into the tissue paper inside.
The entire ride home she clutches the box to her chest, barely allowing herself to breathe, then rushes into her apartment and carefully sets it down on her table. She bites her lip, starts to take off the lid…and then stops. She picks the box up and blindly shoves it to the back of her wardrobe as hot tears of shame fill her eyes. How could she have been so foolish? What would she ever do with shoes like that? So bold, so bright, so unlike her!
Yet, despite all of this, she tears the receipt into tiny pieces and thinks of the shoes at the back of her wardrobe every day, just as she thought of them when they were still in the store.
After they have been sitting at the back of her wardrobe for a week she finally yields – she dims the lights, puts on her favourite records and kneels on the carpet, fishing around in the back of her clothes to get to the shoe box. She casts furtive glances around her, as though there may be someone watching, just waiting to laugh at her for thinking she could ever wear such shoes! She shakes her head to clear it of such nonsensical thoughts, and reverently slides the shoes from their tissue paper bed.
She holds one up to the light, she inhales the scent of the other and then, at last, she slides one shiny, red beauty onto her stockinged foot. The other follows immediately and she does the ankle straps up, just a little too tight, and takes them for a walk around her apartment. She looks at herself in the mirror, loving the way the six-inch heels push everything up, make her walk differently, more cautiously. She notices that the record has stopped so she puts it on from the beginning again.
Then, she lies on her bed, feet resting on the wall above her, legs outstretched, turning her feet this way and that and just looks. She just looks.