Monday, December 17, 2012


            Winter. Winter again. Always winter. White white winter. She thought it beautiful, but she thought everything was beautiful. One could not trust her on questions of aesthetics. The shoes made his point. Red with a blue buckle bow contraption on each toe. Shoes she wore to work, to the grocery store, to church, God forbid—which He probably did. One could hope that He never looked as low as one’s feet.
            Well, she couldn’t wear those shoes in the winter, snow and ice on the sidewalks, hazards everywhere. She couldn’t get to the car at the curb in those shoes, much less across a parking lot.
            He told her that much.
            She laughed. “I’ll go barefoot then, until I’m safely inside.” A joke. He knew she didn’t mean it.
            “You’ll be arrested,” he said, and changed his voice to that ironic tone he saved for special occasions. “Headline: Aging suburban woman arrested for going barefoot in sub zero weather—a danger to herself.
            “Will I get my picture in the paper?” she said. “I hope so.” She looked so happy at the prospect, he could hardly look at her. He’d have told her to wipe that smile off her face if he were the type of man who spoke crudely which he was not. She should thank her lucky stars.
            “I am just pointing out how . . . “ he paused, to get the exact word, to say it just right, so that instead of grinning or laughing, she would nod in agreement or bend her head in acquiescence, just this once. “.  .  .  just pointing out how . . . how unnecessary it is for you to risk life and limb for . . . “
            “Shoes.” She finished the sentence, supplied the word and even nodded as if she understood and agreed. Then she crossed the room, sat down next to him, a bit too close, crossed her legs, pulled her skirt above her knee, stuck the top leg out—long, slim, full at the calf, narrow to the ankle--and let the gaudy red shoe dangle from her toe. “Not bad for an old lady,” she said.
            “Well, yes, but that’s not the point.”
            “The point is . . . ?” The shoe swayed back and forth. “The point is . . .?”

            “Pointless,” he whispered and lurched to catch the shoe as it fell.
© 2012 Kathleen Coskran

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