November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Jessie Carty/Fiction

Hello Shoes

I’m in a stiff white dress. I’m attached, as only children can be, to my grandmother’s side. While the photo could have been taken anywhere, I know that it was taken at a party in Iran. It’s a Polaroid. If you look close you can see I’m not wearing appropriate shoes. The photo also fails to capture the brown aura around my grandmother. No one can see that but me.

My shoes were red leather sandals with yellow stitching that formed the pattern of a smiling apple on each foot. I stared at those apples a lot. Around them there was always sand and on my feet, always apples. On the TV there was “The Angry Man”. We were in Tehran just before the hostages were taken.

30 years later I am five years married. No surprise. I was bound to marry. I was a keeper of boyfriends. My first was a blonde in kindergarten who wanted to kiss me. I would only hold his hand. I turned him down when he offered to show me his noodle. Together we wore smocks for art class, held big fat yellow pencils and drank milk that tasted like band-aids.

I could go back there, back to childhood, have a kid and live through them. I could name it Sandy. It would be easy to get pregnant, to be off the pill with its daily dose of chemicals, hormones and control. Control, I can hear Janet singing that.  I could sing it. Dance Nasty.

Even thought I haven’t had Control since I was Wonder Woman and wore my red and white boots that made me run faster. They matched everything. Linda Carter was God: that skin, those eyes. I’d give anything for more than brown eyes, brown hair. I’m full of it up to here; up even into my aura. That’d be progress, if I no longer saw everyone’s bright bursting spirit colors.

Progress isn’t this new treatment plan. It is not a trip to a three-walled room where the fourth is a mirror that even a child knows is the glass through which they watch You. But like participants on reality TV, you forget the Observers are there. You let it all hang out and even tell Them about what the shoes have to say. Then you have to list.

Catalog: that was Christmas. We’d open the JC Penny Gift Book to circle, tab and tear out pages for what we wanted. We’d get one of the many we marked along with piles of Christmas clothes which looked like what everyone else called Back to School clothes.

When I was twelve, I circled a pair of shoes, a pair of fuck-me pumps. They weren’t red. They were black and pointed with a low heel; they would have to be worn with panty hose. The good looking girls at school wore panty hose beneath their jumpers when it was cool out but not cool enough for jeans.

I wore those shoes with everything.

Wouldn’t it be easy for everyone if I could say that those pumps proved their name? What if I could say I had been fucked at twelve or thirteen? But no one fucked me. Not physically. No, I waited a long time to be literally screwed. I was very linear, chronological. Like college, then graduation, and onto marriage. Like time ticking away. Like my biological clock tock . . . tock. Where is my baby? Caught in the ellipses? It’ll get its little head stuck between those dots, or the slats of a crib. I won’t be there to save it because I’ll be here, getting high on prescriptions and sessions and tasteless excuses for yogurt and pudding. But what can taste good, anyway, when your mouth has the consistency of cotton?

If I had a little one it could wear all kinds of little baby shoes. Like the ones I used to sell. I loved to help kids try on tiny Nikes and ballerina slippers. My feet were small enough to fit into little boy boots and sneakers. You could save some cash that way but little kids shoes have no support.

Can’t I just stay here with the staff? I could just sit with a book and a note pad, in a room by myself because I’m tired of walking, of getting up to wash dishes, of bothering. But, I’m not suicidal no matter what my husband says. Downing a handful of aspirin isn’t suicide, it’s stupid. I’m not enough of one way or the other. I just wanted the bottle to be empty, done. I never regret walking to the recycle bin. The bin at home a red crate just waiting for my washed out bottles and cans. I can still smile like apples.

About the author:

Jessie Carty’s writing has appeared in The Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Journal and The Houston Literary Review. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks At the A & P Meridiem (Pudding House 2009) and The Wait of Atom (Folded Word 2009), as well as a full length poetry collection, Paper House (Folded Word 2010). Jessie is a freelance writer and writing coach. She is also the photographer and editor for Referential Magazine. She can be found around the web, especially at where she blogs about everything from housework to the act of blogging itself.

1 comment

1 Friday Wrap-Up « Jessie Carty { 10.01.10 at 4:03 pm }

[…] a prior acceptance: a story by me called Hello Shoes (warning! the character swears in this […]