“Eleanor Put Your Boots On”

I wrote this short story in my freshman year of college just for fun. I was obviously pretty into Franz Ferdinand at the time. I was inspired by this song so much so that I created a story out of it because that’s what you do when you’re all angst-y and tipsy and living in the dorms.


 

He was a construction man. He had scarred knuckles, blackened fingernails and a permanent frown embedded in the wrinkle just above his eyebrows. He wore heavy boots stained with dirt and kissed by over zealous dust clouds. His breath was long and choked, his smile broken by a pained back and a hardened voice. He was a construction man.

Eleanor had soft palms, manicured nails and a permanent smile embedded in the dimples that circle the edge of her small mouth. She wore light red flats that clashed with her daily outfit. Her breath was young, her voice full of life.

In his stained boots, Eleanor saw stability. The boots gave her Daddy the power to hold big things, climb to the highest points and stay strong in the depths of the ground. So, for her tenth birthday, she asked for stained boots so she could be stable just like her Daddy.

Underneath the pink flowered wrapping she found her stained boots. They were yellow and a bit big. She put them on right there and then and became a construction man’s daughter.

Every day Eleanor wore her stained boots. She wore them to the lunch table where she ate her shaped peanut butter and banana sandwich. She wore them on the wooden bench in church and got scolded because the other girls wore flats. She wore them to Timmy Anderson’s birthday party and his mom made her take them off before she came into the kitchen. She wore them to Coney Island and ate a hot dog with Uncle Jackie.

In her stained boots, Eleanor ran and climbed the taller trees that only the boys dared to go up. She stomped through tall grass and tip-toe through streams. Eleanor never fell in her boots and soon her nails grew a light brown and her soft palms roughened.

When Eleanor was twelve she came downstairs in a blue dress with white flowers on it. She was going to go play with Timmy Anderson and Lola James. She sat on the bottom step, the twelfth step, and reached for her stained boots. They were now mud stained, more brown then yellow. The boot would not fit her foot. Eleanor pulled on the boot desperately trying to get it on as two ugly sisters once did to a glass slipper. When she could pull no more and exasperated breath was drawn out of her, Eleanor ran upstairs and found the white converse Uncle Jackie bought her.

Eleanor put the blinding new shoes on. She no longer ran, she stepped. No more climbing, just giggling. Stomping and tip-toeing turned into prancing and playful gestures. The light brown color that consumed the underside of her nails was now covered in a baby pink nail color.

The construction man’s hands shook with lines of dirt. His hair was sprinkled with white and his teeth now completely yellowed from cigarettes. His voice was now cracked with a chronic cough and the pains of the day dragged his grin to the ground. He still wore his stained boots.

In a closet he kept Eleanor’s stained boots. Darkened with dirt and mud, sprayed with grass stain and smudged with a bit of her blood from a scratched ankle. The construction man’s daughter had grown from boots to converse to heels. And while they all fit he hoped that one day Eleanor would put her boots back on.

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