Red-Flag Shoes


“I would be livid if some other woman sent my husband a gift like that.”
That’s what my friends said, when I mentioned to any of them that Heather had sent my husband a pair of wingtip shoes.

I’d explain how I don’t think like that. I’d say “They were meant to be for him to wear in one of the many plays he was doing with her theatre company, but they came a little late for that.” Sometimes I’d add, “Well, they are nice shoes!”

You know, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and all.


When we went to NYC to celebrate my son’s birthday, we stopped at a Dr. Marten’s. Heather’s family wear docs a lot, and my husband was updating his style. He texted Heather as he walked out of the store, a picture of his boots. I shrugged, glad that there were friendly people out there who cared about my husband’s shoes.


One day while I was at school, Heather’s slippers from Zappos came to our house “by accident.” She was on the phone with my husband, chatting away like they had started to do every day, when he went to the door to get a box, which happened to be hers.

“Oh! They must still have your address in there from the wingtip shoes!” She explained, as she drove over to pick them up, and continue their chat in person.


I know about the affair. I’m trying to save my marriage.

On my porch is a Zappos box, and on my phone is a text from Heather, asking if we happened to see a box that was accidentally delivered to our house.

She doesn’t know I know.
Well, maybe she does. I don’t know.
Maybe I just don’t know she knows I know.

“This is no accident.” My husband says, and he tells me the story of the slippers, which were also no accident.

I bring her the box, because I’m a good person: I know how to not burn a box of shoes even when the impulse is strong. But, I do wonder if there is a secret note to my husband in that box.

“Well, open the box!” I tell her, with a wide smile on my face. “I’ve GOT to see these shoes!” We are standing outside, over 6 feet away. It’s a pandemic, you know.

She looks at me funny, but opens the box. Slowly.
Inside is a pair of silver Doc Martens.

Later, I tell her I hope the boots worked out for her, and she tells me that “actually they were much too big” and she had to return them.

Who knew that shoes could be such red flags?

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