Tansy Undercrypt
Author, Illustrator, Purveyor of Doom & Whimsy

Shoes

March 2nd 2018 in Microfiction

“Mom, let Becca come with you,” Laura said, pushing the girl forward. “I’m all right; I really am,” she replied. “I do this every year and I’m perfectly fine.” “Becca, go with your grandmother,” Laura instructed as the cab pulled up, “and hold her hand.” Down the sidewalk they went, Becca unable to stop yawning and Ruby teetering a bit, this way and that, on her ancient red dance shoes. They were silent in the taxi and silent when they arrived at the ocean promenade, where Ruby led them to a bench looking out at the water. She took a red flower from her handbag and used a bobby pin to place it in the hair behind her left ear. “I had dark hair as a girl,” Ruby said softly, “but, oddly enough, flowers look even better in my white hair.” Becca patted her hand distractedly and closed her eyes; “Jesus, it’s early,” she said silently to herself. As if she could read the girl’s thoughts, Ruby smiled and whispered, “It won’t be long now … and you don’t have to do anything.” Dawn started to break on the horizon, throwing pink and gold onto the water like glitter. As the sun rose, its light moving towards them and hitting the railing in front of the bench, a figure became visible for just a moment. He was tall and thin, wearing a nice suit and impeccably groomed. Becca jumped and pointed. “Hey, baby,” Ruby said, reaching forward to take his outstretched hand. “I like them blue suede shoes.” The apparition had dark hair, then white hair, was clean-shaven, then bearded; it laughed and pointed to her red heels, and Ruby turned her feet to show a suggestive ankle. “I miss you,” she said. “Soon.” He smiled and nodded as he evaporated into a shaft of bright sunlight. “He never misses our anniversary,” Ruby said quietly, using her cell phone to call for a Lyft. “Now we can go.” In the car, Becca stared at her grandmother on the verge of tears, but Ruby’s thoughts were elsewhere. “I’m going to leave you these shoes,” she said, gazing out of the window at the city coming alive. “They’re fabulous.”


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