Gaultier, LisaSophia only owns one pair of shoes. They’re cute, chubby heels, short enough that she can walk all day long relatively painlessly. They’re black, varnished, the kind that attract no attention whatsoever, so it would take you a while to notice. If you meet her in the summer, and you start hanging out, say you take her on a date to the beach, you might notice then, because you’re wearing flip flops (which isn’t a great idea on a first date, your toes aren’t that nice) and she’s stumbling in the sand, tripping, looking quite stupid. It’s alright though because she almost falls and you catch her in your arms like a princess and you both laugh and blush, you say why don’t you take off your shoes and she does, a little self-consciously. Now you feel a little less stupid about your flip flops even if they keep going flip flop. She tells you about being a vet and her scratch and sniff sticker collection, about how in college she auditioned for The Voice but didn’t get picked. By the end of the day you’ve had so much fun her shoes got lost somewhere and you didn’t realise it. You laugh it off and carry her from the beach to the Uber and from the Uber to her apartment, it’s lovely and romantic, you kiss her goodbye and you feel giddy, excited, you think about it at night, but Sophia has no shoes and she’s wondering how she’ll get to work tomorrow.
Now while you two are making out this dog sneaks out to go to the beach and stumbles upon Sophia’s shoes. It lives in a custom house as stylish as it is poorly insulated, full of artistic gaps for the cold and dogs to get through. One side gives onto the beach, onto a row of hipster-y little cafés, providers of ethically-sourced entertainment; the other side gives onto a sad dark alley reeking of the hipster-y little cafés’ trash. A homeless woman lives there, among the stench of almond meets coconut meets soy milk. She’s only been homeless for a few months, so she’s still hoping her family might turn around and accept her. It’s not easy to stomach that your family won’t give you that magical unconditional love crap everyone’s bragging about. They’re rubbish people and you don’t even want their unconditional love, it’s worth jack shit, they can go fuck themselves and all that, but they’re your parents and what the fuck is so wrong with you that they, your fucking parents for fuck’s sake, don’t love you? What, serial killers get parents that love them, but you don’t? Suddenly the dog’s sniffing around you, holding a pair of shoes. Shoes are precious when you’re homeless. And this is a dog. The fuck does a dog need shoes for, right? You grab the shoes. The dog doesn’t let go, but at this point you don’t give a shit if it mauls you to death. You pull harder. The dog barks and snaps its teeth at you and, old Catholic school reflex from when you’d beat up pigtailed brats, your knee kicks up and you punch it, hard, in the eye. It yelps and runs away. You only got one shoe. You cry about it at night. You didn’t mean to hurt the dog.
The next morning Tonio Russo, balding record producer, is driving the dog to the vet. She’s his darling dog, Bowie — understand usually that would be very funny because in Italian “woof” is “bau” and it becomes a pun on “Bau-wie”, but right now he isn’t laughing at all because she came home yesterday with a big puffy red eye that wouldn’t stop crying. God knows what happened there. Who hits a dog?! Who hits a twelve years-old, adorable, sweet old lady, a delicate little fur sausage? Who hits his dog? What kind of monster? That’s what he tells Sophia on the phone. Sophia says she’s really very sorry but unfortunately she’s not gonna be able to make it to work today due to some unforeseen circumstances but she’d be very happy to arrange for him to see one of the other vets if he’ll just hold. He holds. Bowie hates car rides. She knows very well where she’s going and she’s whimpering, starts nibbling at his arm. Tonio Russo’s already balancing driving and calling and being pissed. He turns around for a second to push the dog back.
On your way to work that day you’re still thinking about Sophia and the date on the beach. Her face keeps flashing before your eyes and her lips keep flashing against yours, you don’t pay attention and you trip on Sophia’s shoe that the dog dropped there on her half-blinded way home. You twist your ankle and fall sideways onto the road, and Tonio Russo is busy with the driving and the calling and the being pissed and the pushing the dog back and doesn’t see you and the car slams into you at full speed.
It’s too bad really, because you’d have ended up actually marrying Sophia.