Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Black Shoes of Second Chances

Very Short Story


Black Shoes: “The shoes always fit the right person.”
Photo Credit & Source: ©Perry J. Greenbaum, 2016

He didn’t immediately realize it, but he was dead, no longer alive. He had stopped living a few minutes ago. He was still wearing the black shoes he had recently purchased. They were beautiful shoes, highly polished and very expensive—the kind that wealthy people wear. They were made of “Italian leather” but not made in that country. He had bought them at the mall, at a fancy shoe store only a week ago. It cost him almost a week’s wages, but it was well worth it. He tried them on and they fit perfectly. These were the most comfortable shoes he had ever tried on; that he had ever worn.

And now he was no longer alive. Just an ordinary man living in an ordinary house in an ordinary town in America. This is his story, as much as is known.

Here was a man who had never achieved success, at least not in the way it was measured mathematically by the standards of accounting. Although he was not wealthy, he was by no means poor. He was not frugal, either, and liked to spend lavishly on himself. He enjoyed the finer things in life and thought he deserved them. He was after all not married, not attached and had no children. He was most devoted to himself and his needs, which occupied most of his time outside of work.

He was scrupulous in his habits, but he never voted or volunteered. He was a man of refined tastes, yet he had no friends. His favorite colors were black, white, gray and beige. He at times wore blue. Once, during his first year of work, it was said, he wore a yellow shirt and a red tie to an office Christmas party. His colleagues were surprised, but said nothing. He put the tie and shirt in a bag at the back of the closet.

He wore the new highly polished shoes every day to work; five days a week he wore them to the office at the financial firm that he worked for. He was a numbers guy with a finance degree from a good university. He had been there 10 years and was recently promoted to some supervisory position, where he decided small loan applications. His secret pleasure was saying “no” when he could have easily said “yes.”

After a week, he noticed that the shoes were no longer comfortable; they pinched. they squeezed his size 8 feet. On the last day of his existence on Earth, he couldn’t remove the shoes. His last words, which no one heard, were, “They don’t fit right.” They were on his feet when the doctor said that he was “dead.”

The doctor added, “It seems like he suffered a massive coronary; his heart gave out. So young.” As he quickly signed the death certificate, and before walking out the door, he said to no one in particular, “Those are a beautiful pair of shoes, though. Looks like Italian leather.”

Poor guy; he only wore the shoes for precisely seven days, one week, and he had really liked them. Now that he was no longer alive, five minutes later, the shoes came off easily, and floated down to Earth, back to the fancy shoe store in that mall in America. Into the store came another man; he tried on the shoes. He liked them and immediately bought them. His life would change forever; such was his destiny, one that he had helped shape. 

It has been stated that everyone deserves a second chance, to make things right. Often, though, it seems that some people escape the right and proper judgment due to them the first time, or even many first times. This is undeniably true. But one can take comfort in believing that the second time always makes it right. The shoes always fit the right person.