By the time she had finished having coffee with Shirley, Pat felt she needed a drink!
"Oh dear, how that woman does go on. She keeps saying she won't say another word then takes a deep breath, asks a token question about how I'm enjoying the new house and then is off again. On and on she goes about her mother-in-law and how the woman is ruining her marriage by interfering. I find it hard to be sympathetic when the solution seems so simple to me. I know what I would do in her place, just tell the harridan where she gets off, but Shirley always has some excuse for not speaking out".
"Heavens above, where am I? That's what comes from not concentrating Funny though, all the times I've been into the Plaza I can't recall ever seeing an exit behind the greeting card stand. Just assumed it was a shortcut and it is, but to where? This street is quite unfamiliar, narrow and quiet - there are no cars nor are there any yellow lines, so it would be a good parking spot, providing I can find my way back, Well, while I'm here I might as well have a look round the buildings definitely remind me of somewhere."
Pat found a shop window and looked inside.
"Oh my, I haven't seen that kind of glass for years, not since I left the village, several of the panes look
like they are made from bottles, or anyway the bottom of the bottle. Quite Dickensian".
She peered through a plain glass panel and there, in pride of place she saw a pair of shoes - but not just any shoes, these are "Dorothy's" shoes; red and sparkly, sort of clunky court shoe, just asking to be worn with bobby socks.
"What a hoot - and what a good idea, I wonder what else is inside the shop".
Pat had to look hard to find the door, it seemed almost to be part of the wall but as she grasped the brass doorknob she just knew there would be a bell to announce her entrance. And there was, a lovely tinkling bell- no buzzer to rasp one's nerves. The shop was dimly lit but she could make out a counter with a large cash register and around the walls were shelves, all of them empty. She gazed at the bare shelves in disbelief, was the shop on the point of closing down?
She could just make out a curtain along the wall in the far corner, hiding what, she wondered? And as if in answer to her thought, the curtain moved aside and a man appeared. Not at all the sort of man she would have expected to be running a shoe shop, he looked more as though he worked outdoors; average height with a sun roughened face, large nose, heavy white eyebrows and a hair style that made her smile; no usual short back and sides - it was short top and sides and a pony tail at the back.
"You like my shoes?, he said.
"They are just wonderful", she said, "Are they for sale? and do you have only one pair?"
"Yes to both questions,"
"So it looks as it it's my lucky day, " she said, "Providing they fit me - and the price is right?"
"Sure you don't want to think about if? It might be difficult to change your mind once you have them on".
"And the price is?" Pat asked, wondering whether this would stop her in her tracks; but no, the price quoted was reasonable, at the high end of her budget but nothing to stop her now but the fitting.
"I feel a bit like Cinderella,"she said as she sat on the stool and put out her foot for him to slide on the sparkly, red, shoe.
He smiled down at her as the shoe fitted perfectly She hastily put on the second one - and could resist the temptation to click her heels together and chant, "There's no place like home".
"Would you care to check in the mirror?", he asked.
As Pat stood up, she felt the need to take a deep breath and somehow felt smaller and weighed down; she
could feel herself frowning and her shoulders drooped, she knew she had big problems to solve and as she
looked into the mirror: Shirley looked back.
The salesman smiled over her shoulder at her reflection, then placed a pair of sparkly red shoes into the window and murmured to Pat that she should come back when she had walked a mile in Shirley's shoes.......