These are not my shoes

I have to get these shoes back into the proper places before someone finds me here.

I open the closet door, and see a shoe organizer hanging on the opposite side.  Good.  I glance around nervously.  I probably should not have broken into the house, but it was important to do this while they are all at the wedding.  The perfect time.

Panicking, I manage to find places for one pair, two pairs of his shoes.  I reach into my canvas bag and pull out a woman’s high-heeled pump.  Black.  Why do I have a pair of her shoes?

Suddenly, I hear a noise, and turn to look out the window.  A car is pulling into the driveway.  I struggle as the heel of her other shoe is caught in the bag, and see that there are no other empty spots.  I glance over and see well-dressed family members getting out of the car, parents and aunts and uncles and cousins.  I can’t catch my breath, and I can’t find a place to put the shoes, so I throw them into the closet and close the door.

As the key turns in the lock.  Heart pounding.  I fold the bag and hold it behind my back.  The door opens.  Smile like you’re supposed to be here.

Congratulations, I say to the mother.  Congratulations on your happy day.  She eyes me up and down.  She knows, I can tell.

I’m an old friend, I lie.  I was just putting these shoes away.  Stammering.  Breathe.   I point nervously to the closet.  These are not my shoes, I tell her.

She looks at me sternly and nods, clearly sensing my fear.  The rest of the family doesn’t seem to notice us, as they go about their business of taking off dress coats and arranging items for the celebration which apparently will take place in this very spot.

They’re coming soon, the mother says coldly, implying that now would be a good time for me to leave the house.   I nod, silently.  How do I get out of here?

Then she leans in and says, in a low voice.

She’s carrying his child, you know. 

She turns and joins the others, and I am left standing in the hallway of the house, alone.

Liar.  He couldn’t even tell me the truth about that, either.

I glide down the hall towards the back door of the house and find a way out.  He’s painting the happy family portrait he wanted, I think to myself, as I pick my way down a stone path through the back yard, toward the street.  What a fool, what a liar…

Suddenly, my eyes are open.


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