Monthly Archives: November 2017

The Wrong Shoes

Jerry locked the car and turned to Susie. ‘So, where are you going and when do you want to meet up?’ 

‘I’m going to look for the shoes first but don’t worry about meeting up – you’re coming with me!’ 

‘But I was going to watch a bit of the match!’ 

‘Well you’re not now, so come on. I’ve a lot to do.’ 

Jerry sighed. He had learned the hard way that arguing with his wife just didn’t work. Somehow or other, he would end up paying, and paying for her shoes was bad enough, never mind getting on the wrong side of her. He followed her out to the street. 

‘I’m not putting up with you sulking all day, Jerry!’ 

‘I’m not sulking.’ 

‘How do you expect me to concentrate if you’re sulking?’ 

‘I’m not sulking!’ Jerry envied men who could stand up for themselves. He wondered what would happen if he dared to walk away. Perhaps if he waited until she was in the shoe shop, she wouldn’t notice him slipping away? 

‘Come on, Jerry! We haven’t got all day!’ Susie pushed open the door of the nearest shoe shop. ‘Sit down there and help me choose!’ 

Jerry groaned. He knew she intended to keep him firmly in her sights. Flopping down onto the uncomfortable stool, Jerry awaited his fate.  

She arrived in the form of a helpful assistant. 

‘Good morning, Madam. How can I help you?’ 

‘Hello, I’m looking for shoes to match this dress.’ Susie scrolled through the pictures on her phone before thrusting it under the assistant’s nose. ‘That one there. I’m going out for cocktails with my husband’s boss.’ 

‘That dress is beautiful! Perfect for cocktails! Is it by that up and coming designer from Meath?’ 

‘Yes, it is! How did you know?’ Susie was impressed. 

Jerry wondered if he could take out his phone discreetly and keep up with the match live-updates. As he tried to slip it out of his pocket, a glare from Susie stopped him. With a sigh, he resigned himself to perching uncomfortably on the stool and trying to look interested. 

‘I saw it in a magazine the other day. That colour will suit you perfectly. I’d never be able to afford a dress like that.’ 

‘It was a bargain! I got a great deal on it!’ 

‘Did you? I saw it priced at five hundred euros.’ 

‘Yes, I know but it was marked down in the sale and I got it for four hundred and fifty euros!’ 

Jerry’s coughing fit momentarily distracted the two women. 

‘What’s wrong with you now, Jerry?’ 

‘How much did you pay for the dress?’ 

The women rolled their eyes and turned to a display shelf. 

‘I think those heels would suit the dress very well.’ 

Susie looked doubtful. ‘I’m not sure, perhaps that pair there?’  

‘Oh yes! They would look amazing with the new dress!’ 

Now it was Jerry’s turn to roll his eyes. 

‘Would you like to try them on?’ 

‘Yes, and maybe that pair there too.’ Susie pointed to another pair like the first pair. 

‘What size?’ 

‘Six.’ 

‘I’ll fetch them from the storeroom.’ 

As the assistant went out the back of the shop, Jerry cleared his throat. ‘Er, why can’t you try on that pair right there?’ 

Susie looked horrified. ‘Try on shoes that have been on display? Whatever are you thinking?’ 

Privately, Jerry was thinking that it would have saved a lot of time and effort but obviously, he was missing something. He decided to hold his tongue. 

The assistant reappeared with two shoe boxes. Susie sat down beside Jerry and watched almost reverently as the assistant opened the first box. Slipping off her own shoes, Susie slowly slid her left foot into the new shoe. Jerry watched as she flexed her ankle, trying to see the shoe from every angle. 

‘How does it feel? Is the size alright?’ 

Susie nodded at the assistant. ‘It’s perfect!’ 

The assistant wordlessly handed her the other shoe. 

Jerry breathed a sigh of relief. That had been much quicker and easier than he had feared. He watched as Susie slipped on the second shoe and then stood up. She stayed still for a moment or two, enjoying the look and feel of the shoes then began to walk up and down the shop, checking them out in the many strategically placed mirrors. 

‘Oh, they look wonderful!’ The assistant beamed. ‘Now, here are the others for you to try on.’ 

Susie sat down once again, pointing to another pair on the display. ‘Can you bring me those to try as well?’ 

‘No!’ 

Both women turned to look at Jerry.  

‘What’s wrong now?’ Susie glowered at her husband before turning to nod at the assistant. 

‘You said they were perfect! Why are you trying on more now?’ 

The women exchanged sympathetic glances. 

‘They are perfect but I’m not sure if they’ll go with the dress.’ Susie explained patiently before turning once more to the assistant. ‘While you’re getting those, you might as well bring out the red pair too.’ 

‘Of course, Madam. What about that blue pair? Would you like to try those too?’ 

Jerry thought his brain was going to explode. He stood up to go and get some fresh air.  

‘Where are you going now?’ 

‘You’ll be here all day! I’m going to watch the end of the match. Text me when you’re finished.’ 

‘Sit down!’ Susie dismissed his outburst. ‘Oh look! These are lovely!’ She opened the second shoe box and glanced up at Jerry. ‘Sit down or you’ll distract me! Don’t you realise how important this is? I have to get the right shoes!’ 

Jerry was about to say no but the flinty look in her eyes stopped him. Deflated, he sank back heavily onto the stool. 

‘Now Madam, I also brought this black pair for you to try on. They won’t go with the dress but they are beautiful shoes.’ 

Both women ignored Jerry’s strangled gasp. 

Susie lost track of time as she slipped her feet in and out of the shoes. Jerry’s aching back found no relief as he shifted on the hard stool. He watched helplessly as pair after pair was pronounced perfect and then discarded in favour of the next pair. 

Other customers came and went and Jerry found himself wondering why only his wife seemed unable to make up her mind. The assistant was kept busy but Susie didn’t seem to notice. 

The pile of shoes around them grew steadily until Jerry thought there mustn’t be a pair left in the shop that Susie hadn’t tried on. The assistant was determined to make a sale and kept placing fresh boxes beside them in between serving the other customers. 

Finally, Susie sighed and reached for her own shoes.  

‘Well, have you decided on a pair?’ 

She looked at him in surprise. ‘This is only the first shop! You can’t expect me to make up my mind before I’ve seen everything!’ 

‘What do you mean? You’ve tried on every shoe in the shop! There’s none left to try!’ 

‘Not here, there isn’t, but there’s another shoe shop a few doors down. We’ll try there next.’ 

Jerry could almost feel the blood draining from his faced. ‘Another shop?’ 

‘Of course! You want me to be happy, don’t you?’ 

Jerry was sure the only thing he wanted just then was to go home and pour himself a large whiskey. 

‘Well? Don’t you?’ 

Suddenly, Jerry knew he had to get away. He walked quickly towards the door. He had to force himself to keep control and not run out of the shop.  

‘Where are you going?’ 

‘Home!’ 

‘What do you mean, home? Get back here this minute!’ Susie struggled to put her shoes on. 

Jerry reached the door and as he put his hand out to open it he felt as if something was pulling him backwards. 

He awoke with a start and glanced at the pillow beside him. He was alone. Wiping the sweat from his brow, he swore that he would never again complain about being single.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Letting Go

Sally yawned and stretched. Glancing at the clock she realised that she had ten minutes before the alarm. Snuggling back down, she closed her eyes and allowed the memories to wash over her. 

The nightclub had been packed and she and Julie hadn’t been able to talk over the music. Shrugging it off, they danced until their feet hurt. Julie inclined her head towards the bar and Sally nodded.  

The barman followed Julie’s pointing finger and reaching out, touched the vodka bottle. At Julie’s nod, he quickly poured shots into two glasses and placed them on the bar. Grabbing the lemonade bottle, Sally splashed a little into each glass while Julie handed over the money. 

As the girls turned from the bar with their drinks and made their way to the seating area, neither of them noticed the man leaning against the bar watching them. 

The girls had almost finished drinking when two fresh drinks appeared in front of them.  

‘Harry! I didn’t think you were coming tonight!’ Sally shouted over the music.  

‘I wasn’t, but then I thought, why not? The boss is away tomorrow so I can get away with a bit of a hangover!’ 

The girls laughed and picked up their drinks. 

‘Cheers!’ 

Conversation being almost impossible, they drank up quickly and hit the dance floor again. They had been friends since school and met up most weekends. Sally and Julie shared a flat and Harry sometimes crashed on their couch. 

The night ended and the girls got their coats while Harry waited by the door. He smiled as he saw them coming towards him but he didn’t notice the man standing just outside watching them. 

‘Who wants fries?’ 

‘Harry! You’re always thinking about food!’ 

‘I’m a growing lad!’  

After a brief trip to the burger bar, they made their way back to the flat.  

‘I thought you didn’t want fries!’ 

Julie snatched her hand away as Harry slapped at it. 

‘Ah, go on! You’ll only stink out the flat anyway!’ 

Harry laughed as he held out the fries to her. ‘What about you, Sally?’ 

She smiled and shook her head. ‘No, thanks.’ 

‘She wants more than fries off you, Harry!’ Julie teased. 

Sally blushed and turned her face away quickly. 

‘Leave her alone, Julie! Come here, Sally.’ Harry held out his arm and Sally laughed and allowed him to drape it over her shoulders for the rest of the walk home. 

‘Anyone want tea?’ 

‘It’s two in the morning! We’ll be up all night, Julie and we have work tomorrow or have you forgotten?’ Sally reminded her. 

‘That’s why I prefer going out on a Saturday night. I said we should go last night!’ 

‘You said a lot of things last night but Joey managed to quieten you when he came around.’ 

Julie laughed. ‘Well. I’ll leave you two at it then. Goodnight.’  

Sally was about to make her own excuses when Harry stopped her. 

‘Sit beside me for a minute, Sal. I want to talk to you.’ 

As she sat next to him the old memories resurfaced. ‘I think I should go to bed too, Harry. It’s late.’ 

‘I won’t keep you long, I promise. I’ve been thinking. It’s a year since Rob died and I have been patient but I think it’s time to start moving on now, don’t you?’ 

Sally hung her head, allowing her hair to fall over her face. ‘It still seems like yesterday.’ 

‘I know but the last time we talked you said you would think about it.’ Harry slipped his arm around her shoulders and drew her close. He held her loosely ready to let her go if she tried to pull away. 

With a sigh, Sally allowed him to hold her. She had to admit it did feel nice to be held. She stiffened as his lips touched her cheek. 

‘Don’t worry, there’s no rush. I just need to know that I have a chance with you.’ 

Harry’s breath felt warm as he spoke against her hair. 

Sally sighed again. ‘I like being with you but I’m not sure that I feel that way about you.’ 

As his lips gently touched hers, she thought that perhaps she did feel that way about him, after all. 

Reluctantly, he sat back. ‘Off to bed now or we’ll both be late in the morning!’ 

Sally smiled and with a quick, backward glance, went into her bedroom. As she closed her curtains she thought that Harry was right. It was time to let go. She had mourned long enough. 

She didn’t notice the man across the street staring at her over his shoulder as he walked away.  

 

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