Sam’s magenta, peep-toe pumps kiss the city sidewalk. The scent of rotting trash, salty pretzels, and car exhaust fills the Monday morning air. With each step, a familiar pressure radiates pain through the back of Sam’s left heel. Seven weeks ago Jeff rubbed her the wrong way. Three weeks ago it was Harry. This week, it is Chad. If only she hadn’t worn those cheap flats on their horrible date on Saturday.
The boat shoes looked adorable in the store window. She bought the shoes without hesitation. Chad had planned for the two of them to go out on his sailboat on Saturday. So far, this guy looked like Mr. Right. Chad didn’t cheat, leave the toilet seat up, or forget her birthday. He thought Pegasus was a cool name for a cat and watched chick flicks with her when she was sad. Their sailing date couldn’t have been more perfect, that is, until Chad accidentally brought up one of his old girlfriends. Furious, Sam stormed out of the marina before stepping foot on the boat. Chad ran after her and tried to explain, but Sam’s outer layer had already been damaged.
Pushing aside thoughts of yet another failed relationship, Sam continues her morning jaunt to the Starbucks, kitty-corner to her office. Tapping her toe to the jazzy rhythm playing on the store sound system, she tries to ignore the burning sensation of fluid puffing out under her heel’s damaged skin.
“One tall, skim caramel macchiato please,”
“Are you ever going to order another type of drink, Sam?” Jason, the regular morning barista, flashes an attentive smile that mirrors the face of the mermaid logo on his chest.
“Common Jason, why would I order a different drink when I already know how much I like caramel macchiatos?”
“I just thought you might want to try something new for a change.”
“I’m gonna stick with my original drink choice, ok.”
“Ok, but you don’t know what you’re missing. I make a mean soy chai tea latte.”
“My drink please,”
“Here ya go, have a good day Sam.”
“You too Jason, see if you can get through the rest of it without harassing your customers.”
Upon reaching her desk, Sam flings her heels off and takes her nail clippers off her key ring. Before she can use the clippers to puncture the expanding balloon on her heel, Sam’s blackberry buzzes and “Chad” flashes across the screen. It’s his eighth call since Saturday. Can’t the guy get a clue? He screwed up. No second chances.
Sam tears open her blister. Protective serum escapes at a rapid rate. Liquid seeps out, creating a small pool of evidence on the office floor. A sense of sick satisfaction wells inside Sam. Raw, tender flesh lay exposed to the elements. Her outer layer of heel skin peels back like the layer of an onion. A new scar adorns the once virginal surface. Chad is popped and gone.
On the ten-block walk home to her apartment, Sam’s heel begins to throb again. Examining the damage, Sam finds a new, more prominent blister on top of the one she had viciously ripped open earlier that day. This time, creamy yellow puss oozes underneath the top layer of skin. Blister popping has caught up with her---infection. Crippled by the pain of her self destructing fetish, Sam strips her abusive shoes from her feet and chucks them into the nearest trash can. Puss from her exposed heel drains onto the sidewalk. The cool pavement tickles her newly freed toes. Sam stops to breathe in the pungent city air.
Maybe tomorrow morning she’ll order something different, a soy chai tea latte perhaps.