This is my contribution for the Indie Ink writing challenge. The way it works is that you sign up for the challenge, and you'll be paired with another participant who will create a writing prompt for you, and you have a few days to write and submit your piece. (Click HERE if you'd like to participate.
Now, the prompt Amy challenged me with was: a man with a foot fetish keeps accosting women until one day he goes too far.
I just thought... what? I don't write about stuff like that, and I would never want to. I was disappointed, honestly and had NO idea how I would ever be able to write something about that topic. But, I just sat down and tried and it was actually kind of fun to write something SO out of my comfort zone or realm of interests. So, if you're my regular mommy audience looking for rambling words about how much I love my kids and husband, this will be a little out of left field. (Okay, or a lot out of left field.) But whatever. It was an interesting challenge and I think I'll even do it next week.
“Why do you like me?” I asked him the last time we spoke.
We were sitting on an overstuffed couch in a smoky coffee house, my legs draped over his lap. I pulled at the hem of my skirt, trying to keep my calves concealed. We had only been dating for a few weeks. I’m not sure we were really even qualified to be considered a dating couple. We just saw one another obsessively over the course of a short period of time. There was barely any physical contact between us. He only kissed me a few times. Mostly, he served as a place for me to get comfortable, my legs stretched long and lazy away from body, while he gripped my ankles and held my feet against his lap.
“I like you because you’re interesting,” he told me, but something was wrong with him. He was barely making eye contact with me. There was something on his mind, but I was too shy to ask. I barely knew him. “You’re pretty, too,” he said and his fingertips absentmindedly probed the soft places between my toes while he stared out of the storefront window.
“I think you’re pretty, too” I said.
He looked at me for a moment and I saw something sad and far away in his eyes. Then he smiled and a currant of electricity shot through my thighs. His teeth were pretty and straight and even, but when he smiled at me, I sometimes felt like he wanted to eat me.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“What?” he said. “Nothing. I guess I haven’t been feeling well for the past few days.”
He didn’t appear to be suffering from any physical illness. He certainly wasn’t waning or lying limp against me. He was tense and full of energy, his hands clamping down on the arches of my bare feet and kneading them, melting the tension out of me, making me comfortable.
He pushed the cotton of my skirt up my calves again, this time venturing further to let it slip over my bent knees. My thighs were showing, and we were in a public place, but I didn’t move to conceal them. I was exhilarated by him, by his contact with my skin. This was more interest than he usually showed in my body, which was interesting because he was obviously distracted and barely paying attention to anything I said. He slid his hands under the backs of my knees and put pressure on me, so that my legs were bent at a more substantial angle, his metal belt buckle digging painfully into the soles of my feet.
“Would you like to go somewhere else?” I asked. “If you don’t like it here, I wouldn’t mind leaving.”
He only stared at me, clenching his jaw, his eyes clear and blue and dangerous. I thought that I had never seen anyone so beautiful. His attractiveness made me uneasy. I was tall and ungainly. My body was disproportioned. I had a normal sized torso, but my arms and legs were abnormally long. I wore a size eleven shoe. I had always hated my body. I was always taller than other girls, which caused me to slouch and to feel inferior. I wanted to be small and desirable. I wanted to be something that a man could pick up and carry through a doorway.
“Would you like that?” I asked.
“What?” he said.
“To go somewhere else?” I said.
“Like where?” he asked, his thumb tracing the hard shape of the bone in my ankle. I painted my toenails red because he asked me to. They looked slick and wet in the dim light of the café.
“Would you like to come home with me?” I asked. I immediately blushed at the boldness of my question. I had never invited anyone back to my home, before. Of course I had friends that visited, but I mean to say that I was a virgin. I had never taken anyone home, in that way.
“I don’t know if I can,” he said. “I mean, I don’t know if you really want me to, or if you’re just being nice.”
“I’m always nice,” I said.
“I know,” he answered.
“Well, I’m tired of it,” I said. “I don’t want to be nice, tonight.”
I purposefully pointed my cherry painted toes and rubbed them against the zipper of his pants, hoping that this was something people did, to be suggestive. He laughed a little bit and bit his lip, all while he stared away from me, at people passing on the sidewalk outside.
“Alright,” he said. “Show me where you live.”
It wasn’t far from the coffee house. We only had to walk a few blocks. He became more personable as we made our way to my apartment. He even opened up and complimented me on my hair and clothing. I walked close to him, feeling the heat of him through the fabric of his clothing. I was determined that I would let him have sex with me. I hoped briefly that he had a condom, but decided against asking. What if he wanted me to put it onto him and I didn’t know how? I should have practiced on a banana like they suggested in sex-ed class in Jr High.
“Here we are,” I said and opened the door into the hallway of my building. My roommates shoes were lined up neatly against the floorboard in the entry way.
“Are these your shoes?” he asked, something like awe in his voice.
I laughed. My roommate had a problem with spending too much money on things like shoes. “No,” I said. “They’re not mine. They’re my roommates. My shoe collection is a lot more modest.”
“I’d like to see it,” he said.
“What?” I asked. “My shoes?”
“Yes, where do you keep them?” he asked.
I opened the closet door in my bedroom to reveal a haphazard pile of shoes on the floor. He knelt and slowly started picking through them, studying each one, setting them upright and matching them with their partner. I sat down on my bed. My heart was beating hard in my chest and the sensation was threatening to choke me.
“Here,” he said, holding up a pair of black rubber rain boots with big silver buckles. “Can you put these on?”
I was confused by his request, but I stood and started to step into the boots. Maybe he didn’t want to fuck me. Maybe he was gay and he only came home with me to talk about fashion and shoe wear.
“No,” he said then, looking up at me from his place on the floor and unbuckling his belt. “Take your clothes off, first and then put them on.”
He left that night, after we made love. It was different than I had been expecting, but I was happy. I was glad to finally understand how it happened, how people met one another and eventually had sex. I buried my face in my pillow and laughed, after he was gone. I wasn’t sure I had actually enjoyed the physical sensations, but I knew that I wanted to try it again. I would call him in the morning and ask him if we could do it again.
But in the morning, he wouldn’t answer my calls. He didn’t pick up his phone in the afternoon, either. At first I assumed that something had come up, that he had gotten busy and would call me later that night. I tried to remember if he talked about having any plans that day. When I still hadn’t heard from him that night, or the next, I realized that everything people had always claimed about men was true. I never knew it because men weren’t interested in me, not really. They really were dogs who would use you and leave you, but I still called him hourly, praying to hear the sound of his voice.
I didn’t leave my apartment for three days. I couldn’t believe what was happening. We were inseparable for weeks, and suddenly, he was just gone. I hated myself, my long arms and absurdly big feet. I decided to walk to the coffee shop where we’d last met, not because I wanted to be reminded of our encounter, but because it was the closest establishment to my home and I didn’t have a car or the energy to walk farther. I felt sleepy and clumsy stepping into the gray afternoon sun, tripping over a pair of my roommates heels on the welcome mat.
At the café, I couldn’t help but to wait for him to show up. I reasoned that if he called me at home and I wasn’t there to answer, he might think to look for me, here. Drinking coffee put me even more on edge and it took a great amount of effort not to look up every time the bell above the door sounded.
I picked up the newspaper and absentmindedly scanned the headlines. There was a big arts festival going on downtown. Tourism was at an all time high in our city. There was also a sick story about a psycho murderer who had been assaulting women around a few neighborhoods in town, including mine. He was normal looking, the women said, and he would engage you in conversation, but he couldn’t override his compulsion to touch you, grab at your clothing, pull off your shoes. He was a foot fetishist, the story claimed, and he had been arrested for murdering a girl a few blocks from where I lived. They found her body, but the whereabouts of her severed feet were unknown.
The newspaper wasn’t helping with my mood. I decided to go back home and check my messages. It had started raining while I sat with my coffee, so I pulled my sweater tight against my body and set out miserably into the wind and half light.