Her feet are really small. Like those of dolls. In shoe shops the assistants look at her with pity, sell children’s pumps in pink and purple, or black school shoes with bar and buckle.
On Christmas eve, her stocking by the fire, she waits. Midnight bells. She nods in her chair, the rustling in the chimney too soft even for her ears. He emerges soot smeared, slips coins into the tiny stocking, 1,2,3… The clink ignites her eyes she stares and blinks. The old gnome winks. “A wish” he beams. Two slippers, high and ruby red. Toes wriggle in excitement.