Friday, July 15, 2011

Red Writing Hood: Sparkly Shoes

*Post inspired by the TRDC Red Writing Hood prompt, "Shoes."

Those shoes can be real or symbolic, they can hurt or be super comfy but I want to see what they say about the life of the person wearing them...

And because I am a giver, this prompt's word limit is 625.Come back and link up here Friday to show us your "sole".

I've shared a few excerpts from my novel in previous RWH posts with hints to who Elanor, Sam, and even Paul and Jamie are. But this time, since there are no passages about shoes in the book, or that would relate at all, I'm writing this one independent of the novel, about a pair of Elanor's shoes as a little girl.

And I admit, I'm a little glad I had nothing to go with, because I always love to write something new.

Elanor was in a hurry, fishing through the clutter in her closet.  She threw aside shoe after shoe, though she didn’t have many, and they thumped loudly on the hardwood floor, threatening to wake her father.  Most didn’t fit her, but still she kept them, collecting them like memories—every pair that she’d accumulated over her eleven years of life. 
Her last encounter with her gym shoes was almost a year ago.  She’d been upset at her teacher for forcing her to play dodgeball and had hid them away, vowing to never put them on again.  And every day Mr. Hansen had marked her down for wearing the only pair of shoes that now fit her: her warn, black boots, bought from the thrift store.  He didn’t understand kids like her, comfortable in his large house and three cars.  He probably had a pair of shoes for every occasion.
But yesterday he’d threatened a visit to her father, and she’d sworn she’d never come to gym class unprepared again.  Even though she knew those old shoes would squeeze her feet until she could feel them no more. 
She’d grown fast over the last few months, out and up, even growing womanly things.  One day, while Sam was inspecting the hem of her suddenly too-short pants, he’d called it a growth spurt.  
She glanced at her pink watch and sighed, grumbling under her breath as she continued to search.  She was already running late for school, and the knowledge that Sam was at the bus stop, waiting, motivated her.  She pictured him, leaning against the Whitmans’ mailbox with an apple in hand, ready to add it to her measly lunch.
Then her heart stopped.  Red sparkled from the bottom of the box, beneath every meaningless shoe.  She reached for it, hesitantly.  She felt over the coarse, glittered surface, where some collected to her fingertips.  She’d forgotten about them over the last year, the only pretty, sparkly things she’d ever owned.
She pulled out the pair of ruby red shoes, the straps flaccid and the soles worn to nearly nothing, and she was surprised that they sparkled just as brightly as they once had.  She was eight when she’d first watched The Wizard of Oz, and she hadn’t been able to forget it, for a whole week daydreaming of Dorothy and the yellow brick road and the ruby red slippers that had brought her back home, where everyone she loved was waiting. 
A few days later, Elanor had froze when entering her bedroom, Dorothy’s very shoes sitting on the foot of her bed.  Waiting.  As though they’d miraculously appeared from nowhere.  Her heart had sped, and the exhilaration had swelled inside her until she could no longer contain it.  She’d squealed while putting them on, a perfect fit, and had even been foolish enough to tap them together a few times.
She’d practically jumped up and down when showing Sam that afternoon, and his look had been aloof.  And that was when she’d known it was him who’d gotten them for her, probably placed them on her bed when her father was at the shop.  She didn’t know how he’d come across such a treasure, but like most things with Sam, she never questioned.
And to this day, he denied it.  But she knew. 
She’d worn them every day during that next year, rain or shine, and even some the year after, when her growing toes were curled uncomfortably inside.  She’d played with Sam in the barn in them, walked the railroad ties in them, pretended she was a princess in them.
And now she would take them in her backpack, since they were far too small for her ever-growing feet.  Still wishing for home.
Again forgetting about her old gym shoes.


Jen said...

Good story, Jennie!! You can feel the love she had for those shoes. You do a wonderful job with fiction. I haven't found my "fiction voice" yet. Maybe someday.

Galit Breen said...

My girls have red sparkly shoes just like you described and this -she was surprised that they sparkled just as brightly as they once had- describes *exactly* how their eyes shine every time they find them!

I love that you used your WIP characters for an out of the book scene. Talk about stretching your knowing of them! Brilliant, really.

May said...

My middle child had a pair of ruby reds. They were large when we got them and she wore them until she could not get her feet crammed in any more! So, I know that this fiction piece is filled with realism! Very fun to read. I would forget the gym shoes too!