Night Shorts. 3. ‘Jonathan was a shoe’
Jonathan was a shoe.
His tongue was stitched in such a way that the front and back facing sides seamlessly merged creating a bulging soft item that inexplicably felt both smooth and rough depending on where you touched it.
There were bubbles in his sole that you could see all the way through. They were distributed in such a way that you could look through a bubble in the heal and see out one of the sides. If Jonathan ate too much his bubbles glowed red and made him feel self conscious.
He didn’t know if any of the patterns in his design were mirrored or copied in another shoe. This made him feel awkward and lob sided which sometimes made him sad and sometimes lonely. He would cheer himself up quite quickly by remembering his foot was on an accomplished young athlete who he was very good friends with.
His arms were laces. They were very soft and had shiny plastic intertwined throughout their threading which made them look like they were covered in glitter. This sometimes made people think he was a girl but he was a shoe and would tell them so but that it didn’t really matter anyway.
He was a size 5 in a brand that over estimated their sizes so always believed he was really a 4 1/2. Wanting to be thought of as more manly, he would lie and say he was a 5 1/2 or use units that made it sound bigger. He started to get away with it more as he got older, by which time he had forgotten it was a lie and started to stretch and sag into at least the made up size to which he referred.
One day his owner died.
They didn’t really but Jonathan preferred to think of it this way as the truth was sadder. He was thrown out and sat on a skip. He had tried hanging himself soon after but found that not having a neck didn’t result in death nor was he alive in the first place.
He met a seagull at the dump called Sally. Sally tried him on a few times to see if he fit as she liked his shape and colour, sometimes as a hat or wing warmer and only once as a shoe albeit for both awkward prodding feet. He has tried to explain at the time but didn’t speak seagull and could only communicate through turning his lights off and on.
One day Sally showed up with a miniature Sally in her beak. She quickly plopped it inside Jonathan so that it slid on its bum all the way to his toes. As Sally flew away Mini Sally flopped about squawking and pointing its beak at the light coming in through Jonathan’s ankle hole.
After 5 minutes Mini Sally fell asleep. Jonathan liked this very much as the bird’s rising and descending chest and soft gargles and muted squeaks made him feel both powerfully important and deliriously relaxed.
Jonathan woke up to find his insides humming a low hum. He could feel he was home to more Mini Sallies. He smiled and fluttered his lights. A moment later he saw some lights briefly light up his body. He looked up and saw Sally towering above him with an LED bike light in her beak. She furrowed her brow and concentrated hard as she clicked the device on and off. ‘Hello.’
Jonathan responded, excited, ‘Hello. My name is Jonathan.’.
Sally tapped her feet in a tiny excited dance. ‘I need your help, Jonathan.’
Jonathan knew what was likely about to be asked, ‘How long do you need me to look after your chicks?’
Sally responded immediately, almost before Jonathan had finished, ‘I’m in troubled with the police. Please look after the until they are old enough to leave or to big to fit.’
Sally flapped her gigantic wings, rose in the air blocking the orange dawn sun. As she flew off, blue light mixed with the orange and approaching sirens could be heard echoing throughout the dump.
Suddenly a gunshot echoed throughout, bouncing on every mound of rubbish for what felt like an eternal moment.
Jonathan bent his tongue back over his ankle hole and wrapped his glistening laces tightly around it, tying a neat bow at his heel. Rain began to patter upon him which he felt was as close to the tears he wanted to come.
Jonathan fell asleep full of purpose, proud to be someone’s friend again, and proud to be a shoe.