Flash Fiction: White Shoes

White Shoes
by
C. Keene

She sat on the edge of the tailgate, feet dangling down, staring at the distinct lack of mud on her shoes. Perfect white. They were perfect white, and they disgusted her. Not a full foot lower, and there was wet dirt, freshly packed from the night’s rain. She had no excuse for her shoes being so white. No excuse except fear.

Her gaze scanned upward, across the far-seeking plains that were no longer plains. Three days’ heavy rain had soaked into the soil until it threatened to swell and burst, eventually having to settle on top. Saplings and a various array of weed-like green things were half-deep in similarly green-brown water. She idly wondered how long it would take for the ground to grow thirsty once more and suck in the excess water, restoring the regarded landmark to its own namesake of a flatland.

Upward even still, wisps of white were strung across a blue sky like thin strands of cotton pulled to their ends. It was a pleasurable sight for most, but not for her. An open field of blue meant blazing rays of sun and skin flaking and peeling into redness the next day.

“It’s blown. You got a spare somewhere in the back?”

So she wasn’t alone after all. Someone must have stopped. They saw her, sitting on the side of the road, and they stopped. She had apparently said something. Or maybe there was no exchange of words, and he just happened to be efficient enough to bend down and check the tires. Somehow, she doubted that.

“Yeah, I got a spare.”

She turned and hefted the small spare out of the bed, handing it over. Still her perfect white shoes did not contact with the ground, and she seemed inwardly amused and outwardly indignant.

“How much further ya headin’?”

She shrugged. “Going home I guess. Half an hour tops.”

“You guess?”

“I mean, I might go home. I might keep on going.”

He stood halfway, stretching his back with a popping sound, and coughed out a laugh. “Little late for that ain’t it? Hundred more miles and you’re at the coast.”

“Yeah, I guess. Doesn’t look like I’m going anywhere right now, does it?” She supposed she must have smirked. She wasn’t really sure.

He grabbed something from his own truck, most likely a jack of some sort, and got to work, wiping the sweat from his brow. Or maybe it was dirt. She couldn’t tell, and by that time, her attention had swayed back to her kicking feet hung over the tailgate. Eventually she would have to get them muddy. Unless, of course, she climbed over the wheel like before. Her father would have a fit if her white shoes were covered in mud. But then, did it really matter?

Afternoon pushed evening out of the sky, and yet a piece of it hung there in the sleepy way in which the day often drags. No, she reasoned. Maybe it didn’t matter at all.

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