Cherise, My Dear Cherise (Story #30)

I like to think that each of us is a secret waiting to be told. And so here’s mine. I have what you might call a penchant for feet. I appreciate other qualities in people, but I am drawn to feet first and foremost. Now, did I know that Cherise would have spectacular feet when I met her? Of course, I cannot say that. It was the way she walked that drew me to her at first. She moved like a dancer, and perhaps because I am a romantic at heart, I was willing to assume that someone who moved with such purpose and perfection had to be perfect in other ways. Bundled in those pristine white sneakers she had on, there was something worthwhile. I was sure of it. So sure that I pushed Evelyn, my co-worker, out of the way so that I could attend to Cherise’s needs.

Partly because I am not a forceful person by nature, and partly because Evelyn is not what you would call a hard worker, she let me have my way.  “Is there anything you’d like to try on?” I asked Cherise, making sure to filter out any residual forcefulness out of my voice and demeanor. Not that it mattered. Cherise was clearly a shy woman. Of course she was. She said she was just looking, and then she blushed. At that point, I wanted to sit her down, bring her some lovely tea and box after box of shoes. Most of all, I wanted to have her feet in my hands, to press my thumbs through her arches, to savor the meaty parts of her sole and to press on the strength of each toe. I am almost breathless thinking about it.

Of course, being a professional, I forced myself to pull back. “If you see something, please let me know,” and with that, I receded to the backroom where I found Evelyn on the phone talking about where she was going to have lunch.

Because it was a slow day, I was able to watch Cherise move around the store without having to help anyone else. That was lucky. It was also fortunate that after a short while on the phone, Evelyn had worked up an appetite, which meant that it would just be Cherise and I for a while.

I did not realize how long she would be there with me. She obviously shared my love of shoes the way she examined each and every pair in the store, but watching her left me confused as to how I could approach her. There was no discernable pattern to what Cherise lingered on—boots, pumps, sandals—she looked at everything carefully and, from where I sat, lovingly.

After a while, it became torturous. I wanted, no better to say, I needed her to try something on, to share her feet with me. And then, suddenly, without looking over, she moved toward the door. She was about to leave. I decided then that my sense of professionalism had to take second place to my desire. I moved quickly between Cherise and the door and I introduced myself. I told her I had a pair of shoes she had not seen yet and that she’d be doing me a great favor if she would try them. Again, Cherise blushed and looked down at her feet. “Please,” I insisted. “I know you’ll love these.” At that, I brought out a pair of Valentino sandals that I had been keeping for a special occasion such as this. Cherise took them in her hands started rubbing them like I imagine someone would rub Aladdin’s lamp. “I love them. I love them all, but these are special,” she said. “What is this,” she asked, pointing at the embellishment on the top of the shoe. “What is this material called?” “Tulle” I said. “They’re truly magical. Cinderella herself would be jealous.”

She shuttered, as if I had blasted her with a wave of cold air.

“You love them, don’t you? You have to try them.” My voice squeaked a little. She still looked shaken. I thought I was losing her. Without thinking, I lead her to a chair and pulled up a stool. I heard her tell me that she shouldn’t, but I didn’t respond. I was too busy unwrapping my present, untying shoelaces, trying to breathe. But just as I was to get my way and have a look at Cherise’s foot, she put her hands on mine, which broke the spell for a moment. “Please,” she said looking me dead in the eyes, “you have to promise me you won’t pull back.” “My dear,” I said because at that point, that’s what I felt, I felt this person, this stranger, this customer, was just that, dear. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I know I won’t be disappointed.”

With that I pulled Cherise’s shoe off, and I can say this honestly, I was not disappointed. I was, however, surprised—deeply so. Did I gasp accordingly? Perhaps. I don’t know. But I must have done something because almost immediately, Cherise, oh lovely and gentle Cherise (I say this because though I don’t know her, I know that much about her) pulled her foot back from me. “Is it what I think it is?” I asked. Not to be rude, mind you. I just wanted to understand. “Yes.” She said, not looking at me. “Just like Cinderella, except I don’t need the slipper.”

And that was it. I watched her as she got up and walk out of the store like a sharp knife cutting through bread, there was nothing wasted about how she moved away from me and those wonderful Valentinos I was still holding.

Why didn’t I get up? Why didn’t I tell her that her glass foot had made me her Prince? If I ever see her again, I will let her know.  I will.

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Categories: fiction

Author:the circular runner

g. martinez cabrera currently lives in San Francisco with his lovely and talented wife. He holds degrees from Columbia and from the Harvard Divinity School where he spent three years thinking about lofty things. Since then, he tries to write some lofty and some not-so-lofty things down so others can see how lofty he sometimes is. When he’s not writing or spending time with said wife, he tortures young people with learning. He blogs at www.circularrunning.wordpress.com and Tumbls at www.circularrunning.tumblr.com

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2 Comments on “Cherise, My Dear Cherise (Story #30)”

  1. windruffle
    January 11, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Nice one 🙂

    • January 11, 2012 at 11:46 pm #

      thanks so much. i really was excited about this one. i’m glad you like it. it’s hard to put your heart into something and then have no one read. i’m gushing here. i’ll stop.

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