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Little Black Slides

Little Black Slides

 

Seriously, I am not going back there. I don’t need more shoes. I don’t even like shoes that much. I have sneakers, I have summer sandals, I don’t need more shoes. Well…the black slips were nice. But really not necessary. How often would I really wear them?

“You’re doing it again.”

“Hm?”

“You’re lips are moving. You’re talking to yourself. Or mumbling, rather, which is just annoying. If you’re going to be too preoccupied to talk to me, the least you could do is talk to yourself loud enough that I could hear.”

A frown crossed my face and pulled my brows down. “I was just thinking about those black slides.”

“The ones you said, oh, I don’t know, six or eight times now, that you don’t need?”

I picked at the left over french-fries and nodded. I could feel myself blushing, so I didn’t bother looking at Barbara. She would just laugh at my obsession with a stupid pair of shoes.

“She’s not working today anyway, you know.”

“What?” I did look at her now, because I had no idea what she was talking about.

“The salesgirl who sold you those ridiculous sandals that give you blisters. She’s not working today.”

“They don’t give me blisters.”

“Is that why you’ve been limping all over the mall all day?”

“Well, so what? They’re cute, and they will break in. Eventually.” I tried not to shift my uncomfortable feet and give her more ammunition.  “And anyway, what salesgirl are you talking about?”

“You’re kidding, right?”

“No!” I wasn’t kidding at all. I wasn’t thinking about any sales girl. I wasn’t. “How do you know she’s not working today?”

“I knew it!” She picked up her purse and the tray of half eaten food. “I know because she’s coming over here, and she’s definitely not interested in talking to me.” She kissed the top of my head, and smiled. “See you, Miriam.”

“Wait, What?” I looked frantically around. She had to be kidding, pulling my leg, trying to freak me out. “Barb!”

And there was the sales girl, standing with two fingertips pressed against my table and one tiny foot slipped out of her shoe.

“Hi.”

I sucked in a breath and turned. “Hi.” I was pretty sure I was shaking, so I didn’t get up. I hadn’t been thinking about her at all. God, that top looked spectacular on her. “Hi.”

She smiled a big, delighted smile. “You said that already.”

Perfect.

“Listen, I was just wondering,” Now she looked nervous, and, perversely, that let me relax a little. “I could be wrong here, but, well,” She rubbed a hand across her forehead. “Oh, God. I was wondering, well….”

“Do you want to sit down?” I could see Barb across the food court watching. I tweeked a tiny smile at her, and she turned and headed for the door.

“That wasn’t your girlfriend or anything, was it?”

“Barb? No!” I moved the napkin dispenser and salt and pepper out of the way so she could put her purse down. She had the nicest looking hands, compact and trim, without the long fake nails or too bright polish I was used to seeing on Barb. “No, Barb is not my girlfriend. I am currently between girlfriends.”

She seemed to let out a huge breath, and it occurred to me she hadn’t been sure I was interested in her, or girls at all, for that matter. When she looked at me and smiled, I realized she had two smiles. The one she used to sell people shoes, and the one she gave me now. Something inside melted just a little bit and I managed to smile back, a real expression I had forgotten about, it and been so long. She held out one pretty hand.

“I’m Janice.”

 

I took her hand, and for a long minute, forgot my own name.

“Hi.”

She laughed, I blushed.

Barb was right. I never was much interested in those little black slides.