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Shoes

"What're you writing?"

I don't flinch when she comes over to me, her worn denim bag flung carelessly on the table beside me.

"A story. A short story to be exact." I set my pen down and flexed my hand, stretching the cramping muscles out until they tingled slightly.

"Coolio. What about? I always like your stories." She sat across from me, bringing her legs up to her chest and resting her chin on her knees contentedly. 

"Well," I said, studying the hole in her jacket sleeve. I could see the ink marks on her arm underneath it. "It's kind of like a remake of the Wizard of Oz."

Her face lit up, just like I knew it would. "That's my favorite story ever."

"I know," I replied, smiling slightly. She nodded and I continued my summary.

"Um, well....it all happens about the same in the oringinal story, but with modern twists. Like she goes on an adventure and meets friends and all that. But this time, her ruby-red shoes are scuffed-up, red Converse. And the Wicked Witche of the West is her mom, and she's always drunk. And the girl doesn't want to tap her shoes three times, because she doesn't want to go home. She knows at home it will look like a twister hit it, and beer cans and dust will be everywhere. And her father will be waiting on the porch with a gun and a pack of cigarettes. And in the morning she'll wake up in fear; not because of nightmares, but because her life is the nightmare."

I looked up at her hesitantly, and her eyes were wide and rimmed with tears, and her knees had dropped, and she was gripping the edge of the table until her knuckles were white with stress. 

I got up, collecting my things. "Sometimes," I said, turning to leave. "Sometimes Dorothy trips and falls off the yellow-brick road. But I'll always be there to catch her."






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