red shoe gaiety by ingridfnl

17 Oct

Beeeeeeep. Hello Adam? This is… this is Isa. I … (laughter) I’m feeling a bit, well, if I’m honest, I’m feeling a bit gay tonight. I’m even (giggling),  wearing a feather boa. (More laughter.) OK then! Don’t get any girls in trouble!

Adam stared down at his answering machine. Isa? His grandmother had never called herself by her personal name. She always referred to herself as “Gran” whenever they talked, “Gran has to get some biscuits. You know Gran loves you.” She talked about herself in third person almost without exception.

Isa? He dialed her number but no one answered.


Across town, Isa was… well Isa was as she said, gay. She was wearing a feather boa. She was also teetering around her apartment in extremely high heeled shoes. She’d ordered them through a catalog. They were five inches high and had a platform sole. They were red patent leather and had a kicky ribbon that wound up her calves.

Isa had festooned her apartment in balloons she had blown up with a bicycle pump and streamers wound around her furniture. She was quite sure that if Adam saw them, he would say, “Those are a hazard. What if you trip?”  Somehow this thought spurred her reckless decorating further. What did he think she was, old?

Well, she was old. 87 to be precise. Isa was celebrating. Just that afternoon she had found a picture of her late husband Philip. No, Philip was not Adam’s grandfather. Philip was her first marriage. He was her incredibly young marriage. She had met Philip when she was only 15 years old and he was her father’s solicitor. And as soon as she was 16, with the permission of her parents, they married. “Better to be married young than to be married pregnant,” her mother said.

Philip was dashing in a way that men were no longer dashing, but sadly, he was also already married, and amidst scandal, her parents had had the marriage annuled. In total, it had lasted two weeks.

Isa was celebrating her “anniversary”. For years, she had kept a box of this secret. It contained the letters Philip wrote her during their brief courtship. They contained promises of travel, country houses and a life outside of this town. And she had fallen in love the with fairy tale fully and wholly. And today, as she did every October 17th, she remembered the dream.

Now, for the most part, this had been a private celebration. A special tea out somewhere, a new leather purse or a new scissor. But this year, she felt reckless. She had bought the shoes. And the shoes, for whatever reason, brought out an abandon in Isa that she did not expect. No sooner had she put them on, but she found herself opening a bottle of champagne she had had for almost twenty years.

It was delicious, from the first mouthful of bubbling goodness  she poured into her almost unused but beautiful crystal wine flute, Isa felt that she was living. She was a star. She was having her moment of dreaming. With each mouthful she hung another decoration, put on a black bra, lit candles, put on music, and then in the full sway of the moment, teetering precariously on her decadent shoes, she had called her grandson… Declaring her gaiety.

Who was knocking on her door.

“Gran? Gran?” he said, sounding increasingly panicked.

“I’m Isa,” she said softly to herself. “Isa.”

Laughing she tottered to the door holding her champagne flute, and opening the door said, “Adam. Have you met Isa?”


2 Responses to “red shoe gaiety by ingridfnl”

  1. jmforceton October 17, 2010 at 9:51 pm #

    Well done Ingrid. I’m betting you were smiling the whole time you were writing this.

    • ingridfnl October 18, 2010 at 6:26 pm #

      😀 I was, I was. Am a bit in love with the notion of “Grandmas going wild”. 😛

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