New Feet

Sometimes you’ll do anything for a pair of feet you desire.

The boy and his mother arrived at the shoe shop and stood waiting.
And waiting.
He was a good boy. He didn’t mind.

His mother suggested he took off his shoes so that he would be ready when his turn came.

Winter had hit hard and everyone suddenly wanted winter boots or winter shoes and all the children found that last year’s shoes and boots no longer fitted. So here they all were. All at once. Everyone waiting their turn. Waiting and waiting.

The boy released himself from his mother as she went into an “I’ve been waiting for so long that I’m not really paying attention anymore” trance and “I’ve gone back home in my head and I’m planning the table for Christmas dinner” trance and a “Will there be enough potatoes for mash tonight” trance and the “When I was nineteen I thought I’d be having more fun than this; not worrying about money for food because my child needs new shoes” trance.

The boy walked around in his socks looking at all the shoes and boots on display. He stared at this pair, picked up that pair, stroked the suede ones, curled his lip up at the fluffy ones and quietly watched other children getting their feet measured.

And that’s when they chose him.
The green leather boots.

‘That’s the one we want’ they said to each other. ‘He’s the one we want to go home with.
‘Look at those perfect feet.’
‘Look at those stripy socks.’
‘We haven’t seen another boy in this shop all day that we like the look of. He’s the one.’

Oblivious, the boy went back to his mother.
She looked at his pale face, his pink eyes, his wind sore lips. ‘Shall we come back another day? It’s getting near closing time. You must be hungry.’ He nodded. He was a gentle boy. Disappointed but hungry he never saw the point in complaining; he never felt the need. He knew his mother loved him. They walked out.
‘Come back! Don’t go!’ the boots squeaked. ‘Take us with you!’
The boots threw themselves off the stand and shuffled underneath, watching for an opportunity to follow. Then when no one was looking they pattered out into the cold, dark night feeling very worried but excited.
‘Quick! There he is!’

They followed the boy and his mother all the way home, in through the front door and then they hid behind the coats licking themselves clean with their long tongues until bedtime. They were exhausted. (It is very rare for boots to travel that far alone.)

When the house was quiet they scaled the stairs, taking it in turn to haul each other up by the laces, and found the boy sleeping in his bed with his feet showing. He had outgrown his toddler bed and was waiting until his mother could find him a bigger one that she could afford but for now he slept in his socks with his feet hanging over the edge.
The boots couldn’t wait until morning to be tried on. They were too excited. They wanted to feel those warm feet filling the empty space and those wriggly toes tapping up and down inside their leathery bodies. With one final burst of energy they scrambled up onto the bed and slipped themselves onto the boy’s feet.
Just as they thought: the feet were a perfect fit.
‘Ahhh… Mmmm – new feeeeet,’ they sighed, releasing tiny squeaks of bliss. ‘We just had to have these feet.’
‘I hope we don’t have to go back.’
‘It would be a shame to take us back.’

They would deal with the consequences in the morning.

23 thoughts on “New Feet

  1. Rebecca, I love this! The various trances the mother goes into are just hilarious, and the voice of the boots is so cute I just want to slip them on and cuddle with them. 🙂

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  2. this is what i get for reading a cute story right after a horror story. I was waiting for them to *take* his feet *lol* fun story, loved the bit about their tongues 🙂

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  3. Next time my daughter tells me her new shoes just “had” to sleep on her feet, I won’t tell her she’s being silly. So cute!

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  4. Oh, the stuff that my dreams are made of! If only shoes chose us rather than the other way around, I might actually enjoy shopping for them.

    This is such a great twist and take on shopping for shoes. I really like the way you used repetition at the beginning of the story to convey the idea of waiting, and the crush of people. The various trances that the mother segues through are spot on and the shoes’ voice(s) is fabulous.

    I enjoyed this a lot.

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  5. HaHa, love it. Very original.

    The very same thing happened to me a few weeks ago, I was ‘followed’ out into the street by a very expensive pair of trainers… my shoplifting case is up in court next Thursday. 😀

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  6. Yes I totally identify with the mother’s trances and enjoyed the determination of the beautiful boots. Very engaging and great fun.

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  7. I love the boots licking themselves with their tongues. The story reads in part like a fairy tale,(the not having enough to eat, too-small bed) and I love the way this mixes with a ‘normal’ trip to buy shoes. It also reminded me of how much I loved having my feet measured for new shoes. It was always so much nicer than the hideous sandels I was forced to wear! Loved this.

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    • Thanks Justin.
      You may have hit the nail on the head with the fairy tale comment. It is very likely that I am hugely influenced by the thousands of fairy stories I read as a child.

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