Pastel coloured illustration of a girl looking into the window of a clothes and shoes shop. She wasn't looking for new sandals

Truly, she didn’t want to buy these lovely things that suited her so…

Jen wasn’t looking for strappy shoes; she was looking for wool for a scarf. The strappy shoes in the shop window sparkled and lured her off her path.

“What size are they?”

Before she knew it, she was inside the Shoe Boutique enquiring about them.

She stood, incongruous in her plain pink frock, hoping the assistant would say they didn’t have her size so that she could go for her wool.

“All sizes.” The assistant turned to the storeroom. “What’s yours?”

Before she knew it Jen was seated with the strappy shoes on her feet.

“Take a look.” The assistant pointed to a mirror.

Jen, mortified at her predicament, ventured towards it.

They’ll be uncomfortable, she told herself. I won’t be able to walk in them.

The shoes, although strappy and high, were comfortable. Jen turned, hoping they wouldn’t suit her… but they did.

“Special night out?” The shop assistant smiled knowingly.

Jen hadn’t had a special night out since her friends took her out to cheer her up after Matt left her.

“I’ll take them, thanks.”

The shoes burned a hole in her bag and she took them home self-consciously.

In her bedroom, she tried them on again. The ankle straps suited her, the heels showed off pretty legs, but she wondered why she’d bought them.

The strappy shoes sat in the back of her wardrobe where they belonged, just as Matt sat at the back of her mind.

Jen hadn’t wanted a crimson dress the day she nipped out to buy teabags, but it draped the mannequin in the shop window of the Beautiful You dress shop and made her sigh.

“Can I try it on, please?”

She turned in it, liking what she saw.

“I’ll take it,” she told the assistant.

The last extravagant dress she’d bought was for her engagement party. She and Matt danced; the dress floated around her calves as light as her heart.

At home she tried the dress and the shoes on and looked in her mirror.

What was I thinking?

She returned the dress to its hanger and the shoes to the wardrobe where they couldn’t remind her of her foolishness.

Or her broken heart that was taking ages to mend.

Or the way she’d buried herself away after the disappointment of losing the future she’d thought was hers.

She’d accepted occasional invitations to parties at work, but just because she’d bought the shoes and dress didn’t mean she was ready to start again.

Jen wasn’t looking for someone with wavy hair and hazel eyes when the signal failed on her phone.

She sat on a park bench and tried to make her call.

“Oops, sorry.” A football bounced off her shoulder. “I lost control of that one.”

He was grinning as he spoke.

“You don’t look sorry.”

She was in her cagoule, wishing when she saw his face that she’d been in something flattering.

He laughed and his eyes lit up.

Something about his friendliness warmed the coldness inside her. His team mates called; he ignored them.

“I’ll make it up to you.”

“No need.”

She wanted to make her call, but her eyes were fixed on him.

“I’m Jonny.”


He glanced at her empty ring finger.

“We’re going to a dance on Saturday, Jen. The whole team.

“If you come, it’ll save me taking my mum. No strings.”

The smile in his eyes told her that the dress and the shoes she hadn’t wanted to buy had been omens. Lucky charms for when she was ready to love again.

Jen looked at him as his friends hollered for the football cradled in his arm.

She hadn’t come out with the intention of saying yes to anything… but out of the blue, there was some hope that she might.