The shoes

Submitted into Contest #103 in response to: Write about a character looking for a sign.... view prompt


Coming of Age Fiction Contemporary

“Oh god damn it!” Sophie screamed as she realized that she forgot to take her work uniform with her yet again. She was already in a foul mood and this was the last straw that doomed her to a shitty day. She contemplated going back to her apartment to get it but decided against it out of pure frustration, instead, she continued walking. She was about ten minutes away from the café she worked at which gave her plenty of time to contemplate her misery, her life was anything but exciting, fulfilling, and happy. Living paycheck to paycheck, sometimes having barely enough money to buy groceries, having no friends and a terrible relationship with her family didn’t help either. She abandoned her dream of becoming a dancer because the bills won’t pay themselves and the classes were expensive as all hell – sometimes she thought about going back but then when the six am alarm clock went off she lost all motivation. Often she wondered why she was even alive, what was her reason to wake up each morning? Her life purpose. At this point, she woke up every morning out of pure spite and to piss off her parents. So she kept walking and wondering and asking herself sarcastically What else could go wrong?.

When she reached the café Sophie immediately regrated asking that question because as soon as she closed the back door behind her she was meet with her boss’s very serious facial expression.

“Sophie, can I talk to you for a minute?” She nodded and followed him to his office with a feeling that something was about to go down. She was right because as soon as she sat in front of the man’s desk he said

“I’m so sorry but I’m going to have to let you go” a minute of stunned silence

“What? Why?! I worked my butt off here for the past 4 years. What did I do wrong?”

“You didn’t do anything wrong but we had some budget cuts and I can’t afford to keep you here with us” he replied while leaning on the desk in front of him. Sophie stared angrily at her – former - boss and got up to leave.

“Have you told Stacy about this?” she asked mentioning the most recent addition to their team.

“Oh… Stacy is not getting fired” he replied and at least he had the decency to look a little ashamed of himself. Sophie on the other hand exploded.

“She’s been working here for two months! I worked here for years! I honestly wish her well but why the fuck am I the one that gets laid off and not her?!” silence again and the lack of answer spoke volumes. “It’s because she’s hot? Isn’t it?” again no reply and Sophie laughed bitterly “You are so pathetic,” she said storming to the door and throwing one last glance at the man “I expect my check for last month to be mailed to my place by the end of the week” Then she left.

The walk back felt twice as miserable as the walk to work that morning. She promised herself she would not cry until she got back home and she kept that promise but as soon as she entered the studio apartment she collapsed to her knees and started sobbing. The weight of the situation and the pure exhaustion finally flowing free. She wanted to scream but she couldn’t because the walls of the apartment were as thin as paper and the lady who lived next door just had a newborn. She felt trapped and completely hopeless, she should be coming up with a plan or look for jobs but to be honest, she was done with everything. She just sat on the ground pulling at her hair, remembering all her failures and asking the world ‘why me?’. She even contemplated calling her parents and begging them to let her stay at her childhood home for a month or two but the very thought of that place made her want to throw up. It felt like hours passed before she finally stopped crying and calmed down. Still sitting on the floor, she raised her eyes to the dirty ceiling, she wasn’t particularly spiritual but at this point, she was willing to try anything.

“What’s up Universe?” she sniffed before continuing. “It’s your girl, Sophie. Can you give me a sign? Cause I really don’t know what to do right now and honestly I kinda feel like jumping off of a bridge or something.” Nothing. Not a beam of sunlight a lighting bolt or a butterfly sitting on her windowsill. Sophie sighed and got up from the ground intending to walk to the nearest store and buy a bottle of wine. “I don’t know what I was expecting” she mumbled to herself and then again she thought at least it can’t get worse than this. It is safe to say that she didn’t learn the lesson the first time because as soon as she said that the sound of loud heavy metal music spread through the whole apartment only to soon be accompanied by the cries of a child woken up from its nap. Sophie groaned and walked to her closet to take out the broom so she could bump the ceiling a couple of times but when she furiously opened up the doors something fell out of the top shelf and tumbled by her feet. She crouched down and to pick it up and froze. Those were her old point shoes, a little dusty and dirty from the lack of use but still in pretty good shape. Then an idea struck her – I guess I have nothing to lose she thought and after packing a bag she left the house.

You see when she picked up the shoes she remembered that she always wanted to try dancing on the street like some artists play music and paint for some stray coins the passers-byes find in their pockets. So she went to the busiest shopping street she could think of setting up a speaker and a hat for any donations put her shoes on and begun dancing. The first week she managed to gather ten pounds, she really enjoyed dancing again and some of the people that stopped to watch her seemed to enjoy her skills too. Sophie knew she wouldn’t be able to live off of the money that people tossed in her hat but something told her that she just had to wait and see what happens. And she was right when on the third week of dancing she decided to pack it up for the day and when counting what she’s made she saw a business card at the very bottom of the hat. It said:

Mari Chase

Manager of the ‘Spin’ talent agency

666 8764 802

Call me if you are interested in collaborating with us. 

Needless to say, this one-time Sophie believed in the universe a little bit more.

July 18, 2021 09:57

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