Leaving her apartment, her feet seemed numb to the ground's touch. The strangeness pervaded her senses. Like floating in a void, it seeped from her pores unseen. A shoe boutique on the other side of the street, the display beckoning, she paused at the kerbside.
Her head fell; far below her, she studied a set of beautifully designed, open-toed and stiletto heeled Italian dreams. She stepped off the kerb. Steel and rubber flashed millimetres from delicately painted toenails; the windblast made her stagger, but she walked on.
At the central meridian, she stopped, considered briefly, remotely, the stained white line beneath her foot, the contrast between the mundane and exquisite. A motorbike swerved past, rider swearing – she moved; then she was there, at the far side of the road. Only then did she raise her head.
She stared; the glass of the shop window, the reflection of an elegant woman standing motionless, all around shoppers hustled and bustled. Through this apparition was an exquisite display of shoes. The reflection moved, converging upon her as she entered the store.
“These are just in,” the petite sales assistant enthused, “I’m sure you will fall in love with them!”
She was already in love with them. They fitted wonderfully, embracing her feet with a lovers caress, making her feel desirable, adored. She stood, the pain of the extreme fashion making lovers demands, capturing her, imprisoning her, demanding proof of her devotion.
She slipped them off, her heart breaking. “Let me try those ones over there, please.”
“These?” The assistant was confused.
“Yes, those …”
The assistant raised her eyebrows in sullen disapproval, but acquiesced.
She slipped them on and they made no demands.
“Yes, yes I’ll buy these - and I’ll wear them now.”
“Would you like your other shoes boxed for you?”
She considered; they were her favourites. “No, throw them away for me, will you?”
“Certainly, as you wish.” Again the eyebrows danced in disapproval.
She left the shop, never looking down as she walked. At the bank, she made arrangements, drew out all her cash, and left. A half mile away and she was outside her lover’s door. She fished out the letter from her coat pocket. Her footprints, her path, lay behind her, back to the husband asleep in their bed. Still blind to the fact that she had gone.
He would never find her. No one from her past would. It was time to be free. Even love was just another prison.
Posting the letter, she turned to begin a new life. Her comfortable new trainers carrying her effortlessly away.