*First let me say that this is not a great short story, but I decided to share it anyway. I apologize for typos.
Short Story by Casandra K.
The soles of my feet bleed and burned as I trudged towards Jake’s house. I was a complete mess. The inside of my nose was tickling slightly as I did my best to hold back the tears that threatened to burst forward and I was sweating from the excessive heat.
It had been a very long and unlucky day for me so far… However, it was my own fault for allowing so much of the implementation of our plans to hinge on my luck. I should have been more prepared. I could have allowed Jake to pick me up when he offered a few days earlier… but I didn’t.
“I’m such a moron,” I whispered aloud as I kept my eyes fixed on the asphalt just in case, I saw some more glass in my path. I didn’t want to cut my foot again.
It was a warm summer day, beautiful weather for a picnic by the lake but horrible for a barefoot walk on the blacktop superheated from the sweltering summer sun.
Well, the wounds on my foot may cauterize before long. After all, I’ve been repetitively burning my feet for quite a while now. I thought to myself attempting to find some sort of sick humor in my situation…. but it wasn’t working. I was tired, hot, thirsty and starting to feel dizzy from the long and painful walk.
Even so, I continued limping as quickly as possible using the refuge of the shadows cast by the trees that were randomly placed along the roadside to take some short breaks where the blacktop wouldn’t burn me, and I could get out of the sun. I knew the grass beside the road would have been cooler on my bare feet, but I wasn’t going to try that again. After all, that was how I got cut to begin with. It had to be early afternoon now and at least 95 degrees. I’d been walking without shoes since one of my sandal straps broke. It was quite tempting now to think the world was against me, but I wouldn’t allow myself to be that self-absorbed and cynical. I was getting close to Jake’s house… I’d be there soon, at least I kept telling myself that.
When I made it to the next shadow, I panted and wiped my forehead. Then I lifted my hand over my eyes and squinted scouting for the next shady spot to take a rest in. After I found it, I reached down and lifted my uninjured foot wiping off the small rocks and sand that had embedded into my skin. It didn’t feel very good but at least none of the pebbles hadn’t broken the skin. Then I lifted my other foot. Sucking in air to ready myself for a bit of pain, I gently tried to wipe as much of the dirt and tiny pebbles off the part surrounding my 2 large cuts and then did the same for the area that was still slowly leaking blood. The tiny rocks and the dirt were clinging to the wetness. It stung and hurt at the same time, a horrible combination. I did the best I could to clean the open wound. Then put my injured foot back down on my tiptoes and began to give myself an internal pep talk about moving to the next shadow. However just as I was about to go. I saw Jake’s truck pulling out onto the road ahead of me. It seemed I was as close as I had kept telling myself. The driveway was straight ahead and couldn’t be more than a couple min walk away… if I wasn’t shoeless and hobbling. He must have decided to leave to make sure I was okay. Undoubtedly, he had tried to call my cell phone, but it had been out of battery since before my shoe broke.
He sped quickly down the street as though he was racing somewhere but when he saw me, he hit the brakes and backed up. Normally, his facial expression would show a type of silent amusement at my attempts to reject his help, ignoring any warnings and trying to do everything on my own only to fail miserably… he’d try to hide it but I could see it in his eyes. It was almost like he found it cute that I tried. The look of amusement on his face at my failure usually drove me up the wall while simultaneously making him more desirable. It was a weird combination.
This time, as he pulled up though, he didn’t seem amused at all. He didn’t crack a smile and after he stopped his car beside me, his eyes seemed to be trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I didn’t blame him. This was outside the realm of what I expected as well. He seemed to get more tense by the second as he started to move his eyes downward from his open window towards my injured foot, I had my heel slightly off the ground so I could try to keep it as clean as possible and it wouldn’t cause me more pain, but I hate pity and I didn’t want him to realize that I hurt myself with my foolishness. So, I unthinkingly slammed my heel down into the pavement as quickly as possible. In a ditch attempt for him not to notice that anything was wrong. However, when my heel hit the asphalt, pain rippled upward. It was so bad that I couldn’t help but wince and my eyes began to fill with water.
I must not have been fast enough for him not to notice my foot or perhaps he had noticed the pain on my face before I did everything in my power to push my expression back to default. Because he quickly jumped out of his car with a frown on his face and lifted me up. I was going to protest but when I looked up at him, I saw no humor or amusement. His expression quite clearly conveyed concern and an unwillingness to deal with any more nonsense. I’d never seen him this irritated with me. He was always extremely tolerant of my idiosyncrasies and seemed to have a high threshold for stupidity… well, maybe not all stupidity, but at least my stupidity. However, this time it seemed that I had crossed some sort of line.
I bit my lip and whispered a heartfelt “Sorry. I didn’t mean to trouble you.” In fact, much of what I tried to do most times was because I didn’t want to trouble him but ultimately it seemed I always ended up being more trouble than if I had just relented to begin with. He sighed loudly as if to try to let out his tension, but the expression on his face didn’t change.
It was unbearable to see him upset, so I reached around his neck and hugged him as he carried me to his car. I was completely ashamed of myself for ruining our date. Honestly, I was a little scared he’d be tired of dealing with me after this. As we neared the passenger side of the car. He held onto me more strongly and bent forward freeing one of his arms and opening his car door then he set me on the passenger seat.
He knelt on the ground and began to lift my injured foot. I tensed and began vocally protesting but his frown deepened. His look told me in very plainly, that he would not tolerate any more foolishness. his intensity completely suppressed any more vocal resistance on my part and I fell silent cringing as he lifted my foot the rest of the way. He looked at it for a moment then closed his eyes and blew heavily outward like he was trying to stop himself from truly getting angry with me. It didn’t seem to work completely though because when he opened his eyes, he glared up into mine his hand still gently holding onto my injured foot.
“What in the hell were you doing? What were you thinking? Where are your shoes? Why aren’t you in your car? How did you get hurt? Why didn’t you call me? He barraged me with a bunch of questions too quickly to expect answers. Probably knowing I had no good ones to offer that would satisfy him. He was obviously venting. I didn’t know what to say. I knew I had been stupid. My frustration with the situation, with myself, and with inconveniencing him despite my intentions, was unbearable and in a further embarrassment to myself, without being able to help it, tears began falling from my eyes. It was wrong of me. I was the one who was at fault, but I couldn’t deal with my frustration and the fact that he was so mad at me.
He seemed to calm down quick. His irritation seeming to melt into a look of caring surrender to the reality of things even though I knew I deserved to be yelled at. He didn’t continue.
After a moment he looked back down at my foot and said, “This is going to hurt a little but I’m going to get some of the dirt and rocks off the bottom of your foot, we’ll have to wait to disinfect it till we get into my house.” he took a bottle of water out from inside his truck and grabbed a small make shift emergency first aid kit from his glove box.
I nodded quietly at his words, readying myself for the pain. However, first he let go of my foot and reached up to give me a hug. I was too hot and sticky for this, but I didn’t care and wrapped my arms around his back and whispered into his shoulder. “Thank you, Jake, I really am sorry. I am relieved you came to help me.” he squeezed onto me harder for a moment and then let go.
he picked back up my foot. Wiping the bottom of it off as gently as he could and then picked the few clinging rocks out that had embedded into my wound when I stupidly slammed my foot down. I cried out as he did that. But he did it as quickly and gently as possible.
We didn’t end up having a picnic that day… but we did become closer. While my foot healed rather quickly, the memory remained. Truth be told, I didn’t really change much from the whole ordeal, I continued trying to do most things without any help even when he offered and similarly, he continued to make my blood boil with that amused look in his eyes when my lone attempts ended in failure and I was forced to enlist his help. At the very least, I knew where the boundary for him was between amusement and irritation. Further, I knew that I had somehow stumbled upon a great man and that he genuinely cared for me. I felt truly blessed to have him by my side even if he irritated me to no end.