“Which ones?” Lizzy asks.
“On the turntable.” I jab the glass, as if I am trying to attract the attention of the shoes.
“I wish they would stop turning round so I can see them properly.”
“But do you like them?”
“I can’t tell.”
“Shall we go in and take a proper look?”
“I’m not sure. They’ve got gold studs on the straps.”
Inwardly I sigh. Lizzy is ‘conservative’ as far as fashion goes. She never wants to attract too much attention. I nudge Lizzy in the back in the direction of the shop door.
“You know, I found that white sandal from way back when we were at school,” Lizzy says.
It was the first Saturday of the school holiday and we had gone into town. Lizzy longed for a pair of summer sandals. She only had her school regulation Clarks brown leather shoes and a pair of gumboots. What else did she need on the farm her dad had said? Lizzy had seen a pair of flat, white sandals with a strap. Despite saving her pocket money for months Lizzy still couldn’t afford them. So, we agreed, I would pay half and share the sandals. The arrangement worked well till the last week of the school holidays. It was my turn to have the sandals and we had agreed to meet for the exchange by the farm. Neither of us noticed her elder brother working in the field. When he saw Lizzy hand over the sandals, he leapt over the gate and tried to snatch them from my hand.
“What the hell you doing? They’re our Lizzy’s.”
He made a grab for the sandals but lost his balance, falling flat on his face into a cowpat. He made another grab, but I was too quick for him. I flung my arm back and, without thinking, hit him in the jaw with them. Cow dung from his face smeared onto the white sandals, but I didn’t care.
“We share them, you silly bugger!” Lizzy screamed.
“I’ll get them back for you, sis. Give them here, you bitch.” He made another grab for them. In a panic I threw them down the lane out of his reach. As he ran forward I stuck out my foot and tripped him up into another cowpat. One sandal travelled quite a way down the lane and the other landed by the gate. He lashed out and caught me on the shin.
“Run!” Lizzy yelled. Without looking back I legged it down the lane picking up the one sandal I had thrown out of her brother’s reach.
A week later in the school playground Lizzy came up to me sheepishly and asked how I was.
“Fine. What happened to the sandal?” I asked.
“I can’t find it anywhere, he won’t say where he’s hidden it.”
I never told Lizzy I’d thrown the other one into a skip. It stank.
Lizzy looks at the sandals with the gold studs.
“You know, I don’t think I do want a pair of white sandals after all.”