It shouldn’t have taken so long for her to get someone’s attention. Finally, she caught a clerk’s eye. “Is there . . . something I can help you with?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said with a bright smile. “Those.”

His eyes followed her pointing finger to a shoe perched on the highest display shelf. The double take was unmistakable. “I can show you something a little more . . .” she saw the hesitation as he glanced at her chair, then said, “practical. If you want.”

“No,” she answered. “I want these. Size eight.”

She sat with the box in her lap, surprised by her own giddiness. Despite already knowing exactly what the box contained, she couldn’t resist feeling elated when she lifted the lid and saw the shoes there, nestled in the folds of parcel paper. They were perfect. Bright red, thin, elegant straps, a spiked heel. She lifted first her left foot, then her right to put them on and swiveled to face the mirror. They were perfect.

She rushed to answer the doorbell’s chime. Turning the knob, then rolling back, she opened the door to admit her date. He stepped in, smiling.

“Hey,” she said.

“Hi. You . . .” his grin widened, “you look great.”

Photo by Castorly Stock

Story by Gregory M. Fox