Happy Feet

September 25, 2010
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The crisp autumn air bit at her bare arms, causing the fine hairs on them to stand up as a slight chill overtook her body. It didn’t matter, though. She wasn’t about to go back there and get a jacket. The rush of the breeze and the leaves that were slowing turning to gold and crimson gave her a sense of relief- that this was real life and everything indoors was just pretend. When her beaten-up Converse high-tops sunk into the dewy, early morning grass, it felt as comforting as it would be for some people to sink their bare feet into a soft bathmat or a fluffy throw rug that their feet have known the feeling of for as long as they could remember. As Cassie looked back towards the house, she wondered why she’d never had a carpet that her feet loved. The fresh grass through her shoes was about as close to love as her feet were ever going to feel. She wished, for herself and for her feet, that this grass could cover every inch of ground that she was ever going to come across in her lifetime. Her feet didn’t want to feel the concrete of the sidewalks or linoleum tiles that lines the hallways of the local high school. Suddenly, she grew jealous of her feet resting on the sparkling green, so she lay down. The condensation soaked into her thin clothes, but Cassie hardly noticed. She stared up at the sky, still vibrant with the pastel shades of pink and orange that appeared reliably every morning. She closed her eyes, making the colors fade to blackness. For a moment, everything was empty. Cassie forgot what day it was, what month, what year, even her own name. That moment of absolute nothingness was hauntingly peaceful.
But, it only lasted for a moment.
Soon after, the blackness was filled with a violent blur of pictures- her own memories. She saw the concrete of the sidewalks, caught a glimpse of the linoleum tiles, but not one image of the grass appeared. There were dozens of faces racing through, but they were all strangers to Cassie. At that instant, the slide show stopped on one single face. The face belonged it a girl with shiny chocolate-brown hair and piercing blue eyes. The girl was smiling broadly, showing off nearly-perfect straight, white teeth. Her fair skin practically glowed, her complexion flawless. The picture begin to move slowly, until the girl was laughing, her aura practically hypnotizing. All of a sudden, everything sped up again. In a flash of light, the face disappeared and the image of the concrete sidewalk reappeared. This time, a pair of weathered sneakers were walking along the sidewalk. Then, those same shoes tip-toeing across the linoleum tiles. The view panned upwards, displaying the view from behind the shoe-wearer. Luster-less mousey brown hair fell limply over her shoulders. The girl turned around to show the face that Cassie had seen earlier. Except, it wasn’t the same. The glowing skin was now so pale and ghost-like that it was almost transparent. The broad toothy grin was replaced with cracked lips held together in a tight line. Her blue eyes were now drained of brightness, looking weary and lost. The girl closed her tired eyes and laid her head on a blue mat in what looked like a school nurse’s office. The vision fast-forwarded again, showing the girl awakening and smoothing the creases she’d made in the mat, before quietly walking out of the office. She maneuvered carefully through the halls, prepared to quickly step into an empty locker if necessary. Finally seeing the double doors, she breathed a sigh of relief and walked out into the parking lot. It was very early in the morning, the sun not having risen yet. Through the darkness, she took to the sidewalk and wandered aimlessly into town, wondering where her feet would take her that day. Out of this town? Out of this life? As dawn began to break, she found herself at the edge of town, at a house with a large yard full of dewy, early morning…
“HEY!”
The angry cry caused Cassie’s eyes to shoot open. She quickly arose, leaving behind nothing but an indent where her body had imprinted in the grass, and ran hard back to the concrete sidewalks that her feet knew all too well.





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