Thursday, May 28, 2009

She's Got Legs, Part I

She's got legs, she knows how to use them.

She never begs, she knows how to choose them.

She's holdin' leg wonderin' how to feel them.

Would you get behind them if you could only find them?

She's my baby, she's my baby,

yeah, it's alright.

-ZZ Top

Oh, how Sally wished that it would leave her be, but the pull was insistent, demanding. She knew she could beat its allure if she could just defeat it once. Was today the day? It was time to find out.

Her talk with her new friend last night had made her feel strong—stronger than the pull the shoes exerted on her. She would walk straight down the avenue of shoe shops and she would not waver. She was not their slave!

She mapped out her usual walk to work very carefully, avoiding the siren song of the shoe shops, which was quite a challenge when working in the fashion district. She would usually walk ten blocks out of her way just to avoid looking at the colorful, sleek new styles. She walked a lot in this city, savoring the feel of the pavement as her feet pounded upon it. She wore practical shoes for walking, though she did not love them. They were for one purpose only, and that was to get her past the objects of her true longing so she could lead what her friends and family called a reasonable life.

It was not always so. It had taken her years of support groups and tearful nights before she could even hold a job for this long. She remembered the years when her short go-nowhere jobs had only been useful for as long as it took to buy the next season’s strappy sandals. It happened time and time again--she would cash her paycheck, make a beeline to the shoe shops to spend all night strutting up and down the pavement outside her apartment building until her blisters bled. She inevitably slept through her alarm clock the next morning, losing yet another job. But she did have fantastic calf muscles.

Her family and friends had organized an intervention one day, surprising her in her own apartment after a particularly lavish spending spree. She had lost her part-time job at the U-Wash-It! Laundramat the week before and had maxed out her last credit card on the new spring line. But who could resist Lucite heels? She had felt smart, sexy and powerful until opening the door to the Circle of Judgment, as she came to think of it now. Not that she wasn’t grateful, of course. She had been about to be evicted and her nutrition was starting to suffer, too, subsisting almost exclusively on Smart Ones®. Her loved ones had taken all evening and into the next day to badger her into getting help from the local support group, mostly made up of loser alcoholics and gamblers. Apparently there weren’t enough people with her particular malady to warrant her own group, but she made the best of it.

She had kept this last position at the insurance agency for nearly a year now. She guessed this was what it was like to feel like a competent adult, but it also made her feel empty. Her rent was paid and she had groceries (and fresh vegetables!) in her fridge. She had cable TV and a checking account. She had friendly acquaintances with her co-workers and went out for drinks once a month. She supposed she was happy.

She was just starting to wonder if this was all there was when she went online one night after having one more than her allotted two glasses of white wine at happy hour. Feeling reckless she checked out the style section of The New York Times. It was July already, so she thought that the possibility that there would be some new style showcased was slim. But there it was. Red, white and blue and sparkly—the perfect way to show her patriotism in her country’s hour of need. Why, she wouldn’t be buying them for her, but as a way to support the troops! What could be wrong with that? And then she noticed that old tingly feeling in her belly, with shooting jolts of pleasure running between her legs, all the way down to her toes, making them curl. She knew the warning signs of her addiction and tried to get it in hand by doing an internet search for help. She typed in “shoe fetish”, hit the enter key and waited.

What she found was a plethora of options, mostly of those who wanted to indulge themselves, not help her. She typed a second search term, “help” into the box and got one listing. It read, simply, “”. Could this really be the answer? It seemed extremely unlikely, but where was the harm in looking? She clicked the link and a blank page appeared. Just when she thought that it was a broken link, a blinking cursor appeared and typed out, “How can I help you, darling girl?” She thought it was some kind of gimmick and that dancing bears would pop up any second, but the cursor just continued to blink expectantly. She carefully looked to her left and right, feeling silly since she knew no one could see her, then typed in, “Shoes control my life. Please help me.” When the words, “I will help you,” appeared on her screen, she felt at one time relief, anticipation, and fear.

To be continued...

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