Sophia’s Shoes by Lisa Gaultier

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.

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Life on Life’s Terms by Penny Faircloth

Jean-Pierre had been an engineer of Swiss watches. He had retired at forty-five after a very successful, brief career of twenty-two years. The thing on his arm looked like an aqualung. It weighed enough to make him feel it resisting his movements. Its face was extra thick, and the chunky bezel shone like a chrome grille. He had puzzled out its inner intricacies himself; he had made it as complicated as he could do. That had been his goal: the most complicated watch I can make—for no other reason than that. Just to do it.

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