Flash Fiction Challenge 100 – Day 47
“Excuse me, but do you have these in a larger size?”
I don’t know why I’m asking; I already know they don’t. And I knew this day was coming.
The salesperson takes the box of shoe lifts from me. She studies the back of the box; she’s just being kind. I think she was the same person who served me the first time I was here two months ago.
I probably should see a doctor, but I try to self-diagnose through a series of deep dives on GOOGLE. It’s not the same, I know, but I’m just too scared to see an actual doctor.
I do the best to hide my condition from my coworkers and friends.
For my coworkers, I make careful clothing choices. No longer will I ever wear shorts to work. As a massage therapist, shorts are imminently practical, but my shorter stature is conspicuous when I wear anything other than long pants. I wear long pants to cover my footwear as best I can. Of course, my arms are also shrinking, so I walk around work with my arms crossed or linked behind me. That seems to work at fooling everyone. So far, at least. But the shrinking seems to be accelerating, and I am worried.
For my friends, I postpone visiting with them as I should. Instead, I rely upon video calls to check in with them. I’ve come close to sharing my dreadful secret with a few of them. But I always back away from it at the last second.
I am shrinking!
I used to pride myself on my height. Dad was 6’2″, and my brother was 6’4″ – while I was never as tall as them, I enjoyed being 6’1″. It felt like a good height to be. Then aging happened. But the thing that has been happening over the last few months isn’t because of aging! I am shrinking! Some dark magick or undiagnosed medical condition is making me shorter.
“I’m sorry, but it seems this is the largest model this company makes. But they have a website address here,” she points to the link printed on the back of the box. “Maybe they offer some custom services on their website?” she says to me.
Her name tag says, ‘Hi! I’m Sally!’
Sally is strikingly gorgeous with kind, soulful eyes. Of all the people I’ve interacted with over the past three months, she is probably the only one who suspects what is happening to me. She’s way out of my league, and the whole shrinking thing dampens one’s esteem and confidence.
At first, I was using only the lifts to hide my diminishing height. But I could only make up so much with them. Then, last month, I had to bite the bullet and order the elevator shoes. The lifts could give me back one to three inches of my height. The elevator shoes gave me four inches. They can go up to five inches, but I feel unstable massaging people while wearing them. It feels like massaging from atop a ladder! I can see shortly I will have to use both, insert lifts in the elevator shoes.
“Thank you, Sally.” I believe this is the first time I’ve called her by her name.
“You’re welcome!” she says as she hands the box back to me. She gently covers the back of my hand with hers, letting it linger there for two, oh so surprising, seconds.
Okay, I was not expecting that. I look at Sally again. She was far out of my league when I was over six feet. How could she be anything but further removed from my range of dating options now? Still, something passed from her when she touched my hand.
I want to fall on my knees before, declare my eternal and undying love for her. Or perhaps, just perhaps, I’m merely worried that I will one day get so short, I will disappear, and I’m hoping some romantic entanglement will divert my attention from that?
She senses my hesitancy to leave. I startle as I fear I’ve been talking aloud or that she can read my mind.
“Here, we aren’t supposed to do this, but take my card, please?” she pulls a card from a pocket, quickly scribbles a note on the back. “This is my cell on the back.”
She places the card in my hand, closes my fingers over it, turns, and walks away. It’s cliche and perhaps creepy, but I watch her go until she turns into the employee break room.
I open my hand, read Sally’s card.
Her number is there, along with a note.
‘I love shorter men. Call me when you reach five feet!’