by Emily McPhillips
I bought the red shoes because they were the ones you pointed out, the ones you said would suit me. “Why the red,” I asked, and you said, “Because you like red. You wear red a lot. They’ll match your red coat.” I was wearing my big red coat, my winter coat, the one two-sizes-too-big for me. I didn’t buy the shoes that day, I went back to the store after we’d broken up and I looked through the shop window, and breathed onto the glass, and drew a heart in place of where your face should have been. I bought the shoes and put them on; I left my old shoes there, in the fresh-smelling cardboard of the shoe-box. My new red shoes matched the shade of my lipstick, and matched the colour of my winter coat, that I remember looked so nice hanging on the back of your bedroom door. I held the shoes up to my ears when I got home, and I could hear the conversation we had by the window of the shoe-store; I could hear it through the ears of a child who hears the sea in the shells they have collected. I dressed for bed, in warm pyjamas that I had left to dry on my radiator three days ago. I kept my shoes on, curling my toes into their rounded ends, looking for any part of that day that I might have missed. I fell asleep with the tinted hue from my bedside lamp glowing against my face, and how I wished that this glow was the shade of our lips finding each other in the night. When I closed my eyes more tightly a drift of red spots floated along, and I felt everything slow down; like traffic slowing for a red light.
Emily McPhillips was born in 1985. She lives in Manchester. Take a look at her fanzine ‘Ministering to a Lunatic’ here.