Storming back to the storage space from Martin’s apartment the morning after Martin killed that hunk with the scar, Jennifer tripped. Jennifer was so thoroughly annoyed that she gave whatever she’d tripped on a vicious kick. It felt soft…floppy. Only then did she remember she was still wearing her sexy shoes from when she’d thought she’d have to seduce Martin to get him to let her move back in with him. Rather than just agree not to tell about Martin killing “Scarface,” or “Frank,” or whatever Martin had called him.
So had whatever she’d just kicked gotten her sexy shoes…her expensive sexy shoes…dirty? She looked down. It was just some old homeless woman sprawled all over the sidewalk with her eyes closed…probably dead, judging from her failure to react to that vicious kick. Relieved, Jennifer started to move on past all those ratty old carvings to the storage space building’s front door. But then she noticed something on her shoe after all, something red.
She looked back at the homeless woman. Red. Reddish brown, really. Disgusting old woman was covered with it. Jennifer turned up her nose and sniffed, catching a metallic scent. Then she noted all the woman’s fresh wounds. Blood! And blood, Jennifer knew, could stain her cloth shoe!
Horrified, she sat right down next to the homeless woman and snatched the bloody shoe off her foot. The sweatpants she was wearing didn’t matter; she’d borrowed them from Martin. But she did avoid a pool of blood that would have soaked through and gotten her butt all icky.
What to use to clean her shoe? Jennifer looked around and noticed a tablecloth. Most of it, like the sidewalk and everything else, was soaked in blood. But there was one clean corner. The only problem was that the homeless woman was wearing it. Jennifer stamped her other foot with annoyance, then yanked the tablecloth super hard.
The homeless woman flopped all over the place, then came to rest next to Jennifer again with a thud and what almost sounded like a very soft moan. “Success!” yelled Jennifer aloud; she had the tablecloth. But now the question was, how exactly to use it to clean her shoe.
She had a dreamlike memory from long ago. Her father had died. People were so unreasonable.
To make matters worse, her mother started talking about her stupid dead father all the time, instead of paying enough attention to Jennifer, who was, after all, still alive. When she complained for the umpteenth time, her mother finally said she was going to show her something very special.
Jennifer got all excited. Her mother led her up to the attic. Soft light from a window slanted across the floor, spotlighting a big box.
Her mother kneeled before the box and reached out to stroke Jennifer’s arm. “I wasn’t ever going to open this,” she said. “Just keep it where I knew it would be safe because I couldn’t bear for anything to happen to it. Especially now.” She started crying again. “But I know how much you like pretty clothes.” Her mother broke the seal on the box and carefully set aside a ton of tissue paper, one piece at a time. It took forever. Finally she pulled out a beautiful dress. It was all white.
But then her mother started talking about, of all things, Jennifer’s father!
“I’m sorry!” her mother said, turning away to sob.
Jennifer took advantage of her mother’s having turned away to punish her for talking about her father yet again. She poured the grape juice she’d been drinking all over the wedding dress.
It was so long ago. Why had she remembered about pouring grape juice all over her mother’s wedding dress just then? Something her mother said afterwards, when trying to rescue the dress… But what?
Jennifer snapped back to the present, looking at the homeless woman’s blood all over her sexy, expensive shoe.
What had her mother said?
She noticed the homeless woman’s eyes had flickered open and that she looked from Jennifer’s raised arm with the stolen tablecloth to Jennifer’s blood-besmirched shoe.
“Gently dab,” said the homeless woman in the most beautiful speaking voice Jennifer had ever heard. “Don’t smear or grind it in.”