Twenty-three years old Feemba, forsaken by sleep one Saturday night, searched through a carton of books and paper for a read. It was Dating Season in Belle-Ville by Janet Bengan, caught his attention. Dating?
He blew off the dust from the cover, and lay with his back down on the bed.
He immediately fell in love with the main character, Amnon, and wished him a happy marriage even without yet understanding the plot's development.
His eyelids closed after the scene where Elder Kwiksley advises Amnon to approach choosing a wife like going to a shoe supermarket for a pair of shoes.
The next morning during praise and worship in church, Feemba remembered the illustration in the novel. A cunning smile crossed his face as he screened the different pairs of shoes in the congregational shop. After the service, he picked his first tryout. Linda.
A month later, he returned the shoe to the shelf – the shoe was too large for his small feet.
He took another pair of shoes, Juliet. Three months passed, and he returned the shoe to the shelf – it was too small for his large feet.
Every other month or every other two months, for two years, Feemba tried a new shoe from the diversity. Brenda, Janet, Cassandra, Susan, Elhanan, Adella, Prisca.
In every instance, the shoe refused to fit. It was either too short or too tall, crude or too polished, too high or too low, didn’t complement his swag, or another pair was trending. Or hilariously, a pair of shoes, like Susan, seemed appropriate for another potential buyer.
When Feemba returned Shoe Prisca to the shelf, he picked Rosalina, the hottest, new shoe every other guy seemed to want to buy.
Mercuric, slim, and pointing, how it made him swagful. It reflected the sun, and its laces were like the silky hair of the proverbial hairy snake from which artificial hair comes. Oh, he was the envy of every other young man. Lucky him.
Then one morning, some months later, he realized the shoe had begun to unfit itself.
Beneath the mercuric enclosure was a weak sole that cracked easily on the slightest provocation.
The pointed tips squeezed his toes and worsened his athletes' feet.
What a heartbreak to discover that the mercury surface had been a deceitful overlay over unrefined cow's hide. It began to peel, and the envy from other guys evaporated.
The silky laces become more and more expensive to maintain.
"I'll just return her to the shelf. Maybe I should pick Adella or Cassandra again. They weren't so bad, after all."
He returned to the supermarket putting on ready-to-be-exchanged Rosalina. "Please, do you still have Adella or Cassandra?"
"No, sir. Some smart guys just bought them. Paid full price, not deposits for try-outs."
Feemba reflected for a minute. "Anyway, give me any shoe in place of this Rosalina."
Mr. Salesman laughed hard for a long time. "I thought you saw the inscription beneath Rosalina's floor."
"What inscription?" Feemba's heart beat furiously. The salesman's laughter had an ominous look to it.
"Mr. Feemba, if I take off the floor of that shoe, you'll see an inscription that reads, 'No try-outs with Rosa. If you pick me, you must buy me'.
"I'm sorry sir. I thought you knew it. That shoe is stuck on you like Superglue Cent-Dix© on a piece of paper."
Feemba stumped both legs on the concrete floor. Rosalina seemed to cling more to his feet with that action. He looked up at the salesman in bewilderment. "Is there absolutely, I mean, absolutely no way to return it? I can't keep it for life."
"If you must return it, it would cost you your feet."
"Yes. You see, other shoes caused you minor bruises on your soles or insteps, but not so with Rosalina. You can't part with it and not live to remember the pain or see the scar of her wounds."
While Feemba stood staring, the salesman went to his seat and fidgeted with a machine. Feemba's phone rang. When he looked at the screen, there was a message notification.
It partially read: ...Rosalina fully paid for. Congratulations on your purchase.
Before Feemba could awaken from his dreamy actuality, the salesman approached once again with a bottle of polish with which he meticulously gave Rosalina a brighter shine and look. Stepping four steps backwards, he shook Feemba's hand.
"Congratulations. It's a deal. I wish you luck."
The pop song that played on the shop's Hi-Fi speakers sounded like a mockery in Feemba's ears.
One year later, Feemba limped into the supermarket. "Men, that shoe hurts like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I want it replaced. I'm ready to lose my feet. It's preferable to walk on stumps or wear prosthetics than to attempt containing a wearisome Rosalina always."
The salesman tapped Feemba on the shoulder. "Patience, man. With a little endurance, the shoe will finally fit. Don’t be too quick to throw away your nice shoe."
"Nice shoe? You must be kidding me. Rosalina can never fit me. By the time it does, I'd have lost not only my feet but my legs and trunk, probably my heart. See my toes, they're already blistering."
"I know, but don't worry. You see, many people have been complaining about their unfit shoes. So I wrote some books to help out. I'll give you some copies."
The man went to the counter behind his seat and returned with two books.
"Here. That's DON’T THROW AWAY YOUR SHOE YET! Masterpiece. And here. HOW TO GET HURTING SHOES TO FIT. Another classic. You'll love them and thank me later.
"Be intentional about trying the tips I've outlined in the book. Many testimonies are pouring in of unfit shoes turning fit. I give out several copies every day. Real hot cake."
"Thanks, man," Feemba said, inspecting the books. "I appreciate. Good day." He turned to leave.
"What money? Are these for sale? Didn’t you say you give?"
"Sorry. They're for sale. Each is 5000frs. 10 dollars each. Very cheap , almost free, compared to their value."
Heaving, Feemba said, "Rosalina, you will kill me before my time."
Three years passed. Mr. Salesman cum author must have forgotten about Feemba. One sunny afternoon, a young guy pushed the client in a wheelchair into the supermarket. On his laps was a black polythene bag containing Roslina.
Feemba shoved the books at the salesman. "Your tips didn’t work on Rosalina. Look at me. My feet are almost gone. My ankles are swollen and tender.
"Take back your pair of shoes." He threw Rosalina at the salesman.
"I'm done with it. If you can't give me another pair of shoes for my feetless legs, I'd still be happy being without shoes than to stay with Rosalina."
To the young man who pushed him in, Feemba said, "Get me out of this place as fast as possible."
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