All eyes followed me as I took the stand. The court reeked of musty mothballs like my grandma’s coat closet, a scent I knew well from searching for her clunky high heels.
The prosecutor crossed his arms. “Ladies and gentlemen of the jury…we are here to prove that Mr. Smith stole from his own wife of fifteen years.” A gentle gasp traveled the room. “He needs to return what rightfully belongs to Mrs. Smith.” Mr. Lenard motioned to me. “Mrs. Smith, you may proceed with your account of the events that transpired this year.
I wiped a stray tear from my cheek and began.
“It all started with a Choo.”
“God bless you, dear,” whispered one of the jurors. The extra-large lady had squeezed into an extra-small bolero jacket.
“I didn’t sneeze,” I whispered back. Wiping the sweat off my brow, I went on, “Love at first sight, I guess. I remember the day I first saw a Choo.
“God bless you,” the same lady called. This time she said it with her eyes closed, like she meant it.
“No, a Choo shoe—her mouth opened halfway to bless me again—a Jimmy Choo Couture strappy red sandal.” I was practically drooling at the memory…
I followed the woman five blocks in Manhattan, keeping a safe distance so I wouldn’t scare her, but close enough to admire how the graceful curved strap hugged her tiny ankle as she tapped in line at Starbucks. Suddenly I felt like coffee and parked my Reeboks in the line next to the strappy sandals. I tapped her shoulder. “Excuse me, but I love your sandals. Where did you get them?”
She lowered her sunglasses a bit. “Thank you, darling. They are original Jimmy Choo Couture. You can’t get these at JC Penney’s. Try Nordstrom’s.” She turned and ordered a Vente Caramel Macchiato and continued tapping her toe.
“I tried on every Choo sandal…the paisley wedge, the silver Slingback Peep Toe pump…”
“And that’s when your obsession began?”
“Objection, your Honor. The Counselor is leading the witness.”
“Counselors approach the bench, please.”
Jack’s lawyer whispered, “Your Honor, I don’t see what naming shoes and Starbucks has to do with this case.”
“Please move along or we’ll be here til Christmas.”
“Mrs. Smith, is it true you sought medical attention for your obsession with Choos?
“Yes, I did.”
“Tell the jury what your husband did to reward your efforts.”
“He threw out sixty pairs of shoes. Every pair but my old Reeboks.” At least one woman gasped again.
“Mr. Smith, will you please tell the jury how often your wife bought a new pair of designer shoes.”
“At least once a week. Usually pay day. And always a Jimmy Choo.”
“How much does an average Choo design cost?”
“Six hundred to over a thousand.”
“How did she pay?”
“With her charge card.”
“Has she accumulated any debt with these extravagant purchases?”
At least one man gasped.
“So why did you throw out her shoes?”
“I didn’t throw out every pair. I returned any unworn shoes with a receipt. About seven thousand dollars’ worth.”
“Please answer the question.”
“Those Choo shoes have ruined our marriage. I love Becky, but her obsession has taken over her life, our life. We can’t pay our bills, and the girls are applying to colleges. Sometimes she’ll miss church to catch a sale at Nordstrom’s.”
“How would getting rid of her shoes help?”
“I wanted her to see she can be happy without her possessions.” Jack’s green eyes met mine, still twinkling. He continued. “Remember when we were dating and broke, paying for college? We had romantic picnics in Central Park and covered every block of Manhattan in sneakers. I love you with or without your Choos.”
“God bless you,” whispered juror # 7.
Has she been listening at all?
And in less time than a sneeze, my eyes opened…God blessed me with a revelation: I was blessed. My husband loved me; we had two beautiful, healthy girls. I didn’t need a Choo to feel good about myself. We could take the money I would spend on one pair of pumps and go to Jamaica.
“Your Honor, may I drop all charges and hug my husband?”
“You may. Court dismissed.”
Juror # 7 sneezed as she walked by. “God bless you too,” we said and meant it.
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