She was sitting, legs crossed, her bare right foot swinging with hypnotic grace, waiting expectant, knowing that I would come near, and so I approached and knelt in front, taking the one milky white foot in my hands, so light, so delicate that I thought it would break with one careless move.
I stroked a finger along the instep, and was rewarded when a frisson shuddered its way through her, wriggling from the waist to the shoulders with a suggestion of mingled delight and that half-welcome distress which is the companion of the sole.
I grasped the foot more firmly and bent my head in a helpless attitude of worship,nearly, oh so nearly kissing her toes one by one; Market, Home, Roast Beef, None, Wee, squared nails dressed proudly in their shiny red coats, trying to suggest something other than what they were. Up close I was distracted by a tiny chip off one, a small imperfection born of the summer and the wear of the street, marring their otherwise unnatural smoothness.
My breath rebounded soft and damp against my cheek, tainted, no, fragranced with the intimate fragrance of her, mixed with the countless other tired scents of the day; a musty organic smell from her shoes, the ghosts of flowers from her morning wash, faint oiliness from the car and over all, above all, the sweaty essence of her, loved to the point of distraction.
I'd do far more for her than what I was about to do, and I ran my finger gently along the top of her foot, from toes to ankle, watching her flesh submit in peristaltic obedience to mine. I saw anew its fragility, the delicate bones scarce robed in a skin so transparent that the tiny blue rivers veiled within throbbed in my mind as well as in my sight.
I took out my tape and measured, round the ankle, heel to toe, round the foot, and sat down to work out how many stitches I'd need for the first ever pair of socks I'd make for her.
By Penny Dreadful