Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Flash - Pretty Feet

"I'd never really thought about feet until I kicked my toes up in the middle of the night and broke one. I'm from the trainer generation, definitely comfort first. I remember the long wait in casualty. It was nice being in a hospital and not being afraid of lying to the doctor.

The Registrar asked me to remove my other slipper so he could compare feet. And he says to me, 'Yes definitely broken. Nothing we can do I'm afraid except tape it to the other toe. We'll get an X-ray just to make sure you haven't done any more damage.' and then as an after thought he added, 'it's such a shame really, 'cause you have such pretty feet.'

You wouldn't think that could change someone's life would you? A casual throw away remark. I didn't take him seriously. But then X-ray guy says,

'You wouldn't believe some of the feet we see in here. I know what you're thinking, corns, bunions, a fungus infected toe nail perhaps, but you'd be wrong.' and then he lowered his voice, looks in my eyes and he says 'I'm telling you straight, the feet we see in here, 'orrible! But yours are lovely.'

I flushed, like a young girl. Two compliments in one day! I want to say in the space of a hour, but any one who's been to our beloved NHS would know that wasn't true - it was two compliments in three hours. But I kept thinking that must mean something.

I moved from trainers to sandals while the toe was broken. But while I hobbled around cooking tea for the kids and sitting on a chair at school, I'm a dinner lady, it played on my mind. All around me, ugly feet. But not mine.

And I started to buy things for my feet. Nothing to expensive you understand, a peppermint foot spray, things like that. I saw this thing, you'll laugh, fish. Fish for your feet! And I, well, I decided to get myself one of those pedicures. She put out such a assortment of varnish, every colour you could imagine and I well... "

"Trisha we are talking about abusive partners remember? Not feet. You were married for 14 years and you admit that he hit while you were still dating. While pregnant with your third child he broke a rib. Feelings Trisha we're talking about feelings..."

"I'm trying to tell you. My Dad, he was handy with a fist. I was pregnant and married at 19. I've never had anyone say anything nice to me. I was fat, I was lazy, I was stupid. And here I was. Purple painted toes nails, a flower of little diamonds on each big toe. He hit me, just a slap, didn't even black my eye. And I look down at my feet. And I realised that for the first time in my life I had some part of me that I liked. I think I've always hated myself more than I hated them. And in that one moment, me and my pretty feet we just decided to leave."


  1. A very deep-meaning piece of writing.

    It's a very saddening, but often truthful fact that the person suffering the abuse comes to hate themselves more than they hate the person abusing them, as though somehow they feel they deserve it.

    You have captured the situation very skilfully here, and her realisation of the truth is somewhat heart-lifting in the end.

  2. I like the transition from light to dark subject matter. Handled very well.

  3. Oh, the places she will go now that she has her pretty feet moving.

  4. Powerful final line. I'm glad she got out, but the whole ambivalence and concentration on the pretty feet is part of what makes this powerful. (Her avoidance of the violence is scary but all too common.)

  5. It's amazing how a supposedly throwaway remark changes someone's life, but in this case, I'm glad it did.

  6. The easy banter lulls the reader into expecting something nice. It provides a stark contrast to the reality and so lends it greater impact.