Over the years, I've shared many personal experiences to the board. A lot of them surrounded one particular friend who was quite the shoeplayer. I don't know that she's a shoeplayer in the same way now; these stories are a bit dated. But I decided to build her shoeplay moments into a story. You might recognize a few of them. But now they're presented as a short-story narrative, and not just an "I remember."
I feel like there was a series of stories at one time using a character named Lainie many years ago, it may have been here or on another forum, and I don't recall who the writer was. This isn't the same character, if you recall those. But for a lot of reasons, it was a perfect name for my character, and so here we are.
As always, feel free to comment and enjoy! I know we don't get as much fiction here as we once did.
I never fully appreciated the saying “be careful what you wish for” until I met Lainie.
Don’t get me wrong. Lainie’s great. But sometimes she can be so distracting.
They hired Lainie about two months ago. She sits at the desk nearest to mine. We’re separated by two big filing cabinets. At first I was enthusiastic, because at 30 I’m the youngest at this company by far, and it sounded great to have a co-worker within ten years of my own age.
Lainie is 24. Her real name is Elaine, but she started using Lainie in college because Elaine sounded too old to her. She’s a small-town country girl at heart, but she tries her hardest not to let it show.
Lainie’s cool. She’s mature for her age, but she hasn’t quite grown out of college yet. And since she’s so far removed from our older co-workers, she and I get along really well.
Lainie wasn’t at her desk. I knew because I could hear clicking footsteps coming from the direction of the bathrooms. Our desks were carpeted underneath, but the main hallways were hard floors. And only one person wore shoes that clicked like that on those floors.
In a few seconds, Lainie came around the corner, her clicking footsteps fading as she stepped onto the carpet. She smiled in my direction as she walked past my desk to hers. Lainie always looked like she was on the verge of laughter, even when she was moody. She had brown hair and brown eyes and a simple, low-maintenance, girl-next-door air.
But the way Lainie dressed caught my eye the most.
Our office is pretty casual. Even my usual khakis and buttoned shirts are more than most bother with. Lainie had her sweater-and-jeans days, too. But most of the time, she dressed up a little more than she had to.
Today, Lainie wore a lavender blouse, the top unbuttoned to reveal a hint of black lace. Her black dress pants hid all but the toes of her shiny black shoes. Lainie only had one pair of shiny shoes I’d seen before. They were patent black pumps with a three-inch heel and a thin strap across the top of her foot. Lainie called them her Mary Janes, and I thought the strap was too high to be a proper Mary Jane…but that was the sort of thing I couldn’t call her out on without “outing” myself.
Either way, Lainie got to her desk, rolled out her chair and sat down. Her heels scuffed a bit on the plastic mat under her chair, and I simultaneously wished that the floors in our nook were and weren’t tiled like the hallway. If they were tiled, I probably couldn’t have gotten any work done.
Lainie was quiet, working on something, and so was I. But after a few minutes, Lainie’s chair rolled back, I heard her plant her feet on the chair mat, and she got up.
“You’re working hard over there,” I said, just trying to make small talk.
“So much filing,” Lainie replied as she pulled open one of the file drawers behind me.
“Sounds fun,” I answered.
“It’s a good test of my alphabet,” Lainie countered with a laugh.
I got up and made a quick run to the bathroom. When I got back, Lainie was still standing at the filing cabinets, sorting through a still-giant stack of paperwork. She had been picking away at the stack all day, only sitting down to check her emails or answer a phone call. I felt bad for her; it was mundane busy work foisted upon the new girl. I sat back down in my chair and turned in her direction.
As Lainie stood there, she shifted her weight every minute or so, bending one knee and lifting her heel ever so slightly off the ground. It was a variant of the “my shoes hurt” dance, one I had never seen Lainie do.
And then Lainie stopped, her feet flat on the floor, and bent down. She lifted her right pantleg to reveal her glossy black shoe, and for the first time, I could see she was wearing sheer black nylons. Lainie wordlessly unbuckled the ankle strap of her right shoe with both hands, then stood up.
And then she arched her foot and slid it from her shoe, shaking her foot free of the loosened ankle strap. She curled her toes tightly, then planted her dark stockinged foot atop her other shoe. It felt like it happened in slow motion.
I couldn’t look away. I tried to memorize the details of Lainie’s empty patent black shoe, the shiny gold insole, the creases on that dangling ankle strap, her stockinged toes resting on her other shoe. I sort of wanted Lainie to take off the other shoe, but seeing her stand there in only one shoe, so obvious about it, was sexy as hell.
Lainie must have seen me staring, because I heard her ask, “Is there something interesting about my shoes?”
I looked up at Lainie. She was wearing a smile that was equal parts of “I caught you” and “what are you up to?”
“Well, you took one off,” I said, trying not to be too obvious.
Lainie nodded. “My feets hurt,” she said, folding her right leg back and rotating her ankle. Lainie did this babytalk thing sometimes when talking about herself. It was certainly working for her.
“You’re wearing giant heels,” I said back.
“But I likes my heels,” Lainie whined. She returned her stockinged foot to the top of her left shoe.
“Not enough to keep them on.”
“They’re not good for standing,” Lainie said. She rubbed her toes on the tip of her shoe, like she was polishing her patent pump. “Plus there’s no platform under my toes, so it stretches my feet and they hurt after a while.”
“So why don’t you take them both off?” I asked. It always seemed like women just wanted permission to take their shoes off.
“‘Cause I like the lift when I’m filing up high,” Lainie explained. Lainie wasn’t short, but technically the shoes gave her another three inches, so I suppose she had a point.
“I’ll get you a big phonebook or something and you can take off the other one,” I said.
But Lainie shook her head, laughing. “It’s easier to get away with one shoe off than both,” she said. She bent her knee and raised her foot to rotate her ankle and curl her toes again.
One thing was certain. I was hardly going to tell her to put her shoe back on.
Lainie slipped her foot back into her shoe, careful not to step on the Mary Jane strap. She took a few steps to her desk, and as she grabbed another stack to file, she extended her right foot out to the side and slipped out of her shoe again. This time her shoe toppled onto its side as she shook her foot free. Lainie turned back and walked, her right foot on tiptoes, back to the drawer, leaving her empty shoe at her desk.
As Lainie rested her stockinged foot atop her shoe again, I wondered if I would get any work done the rest of the day.
I didn’t get much done, as I watched Lainie stand there at the drawer in her one shiny shoe and her tired nylon foot. At one point our boss walked past and did a double-take and asked Lainie why she didn’t wear comfortable shoes. Lainie shrugged.
After he left, I went over and filed with Lainie for a little bit. It helped her go faster, and it gave me a closer view as she wiggled and curled her nylon toes. Lainie’s nylons had dark reinforced toes, but I could sort of see her toenails were unpainted. And the hems of her pants were worn thin, probably from walking on them when she wore flats or went barefoot at home.
I even tried to take my time filing, but between the two of us, we finished the last of the stack of paperwork pretty quickly. As I pushed the drawer closed, Lainie went and leaned against her desk, curling her stockinged foot and rotating her ankle. “Thanks,” she said. “That went a little faster.”
“Well, I felt bad watching you stand there,” I said. I still hoped she would take off the other shoe, but one-shoe Lainie was pretty hot.
“Why?” Lainie asked.
“Because your feet hurt.”
“Aww,” Lainie said, looking down at her shoeless foot. She went to put her shoe back on, but it was turned the other way around, so she spun it around and awkwardly tried slipping it back on. “I don’t wanna put my shoe on.”
“Then don’t,” I said.
“But I have to go to the bathroom,” Lainie said, finally tipping her shoe upright and stepping into it. “And then we have to go home.”
“I guess.” I was a bit disappointed as Lainie bent down and buckled her ankle strap.
“Maybe I won’t wear these tomorrow,” she said, smiling as she headed down the hall.
As Lainie clicked her way down the hall, I was pretty glad she hadn’t worn them today.