Photo by Peter Hershey

Photo by Peter Hershey

BeYouTiful YOU by Natasha Brown

The sound of her leaky faucet tap, tap, tapping filled Megan’s ears.

She’d lingered too long. Her interviewer would be waiting; the interviewer that held the key to her dream job. Sixteen minutes had already ticked away as she’d sat shoeless on her shabby couch. Her pants were so worn, the zipper was being held up by a safety pin, something she covered by her colorful blouse.

Her single-room apartment held everything she owned, minus the pair of flats she’d lent to her friend, who hadn’t brought them back as promised. “I’ll be there in five minutes,” she’d said, but that had been a half hour ago. Megan couldn’t wait any longer. She would have to wear either her slippers or her ratty tennis shoes, neither of which were appropriate for Bentley & Fields.

A soft rapping came from her door.

Megan jumped to her feet and flew across the rough oak planks. She flipped the deadbolt and swung open the door, expecting to see her friend’s apologetic face. She popped her head out to peer into the corridor, and only an empty hallway met her eyes. She sighed, presuming her ears had played tricks on her.

Before slipping back inside, she noticed a brown shoebox at the threshold. Presuming it had been left by her tardy friend, she picked it up and took it into her apartment. She sat back onto the couch and lifted the box’s lid.

Her black flats were nowhere to be seen. Instead, a pair of brown leather shoes, more appropriate for her father, sat within. At that very moment, her last hundred dollars was diminishing in her bank account. She needed this job to pay her bills and to survive on her own. Plus, this was her chance to do something she could be proud of. Megan’s eyes welled with tears and salty droplets fell into the box.

It was then she noticed the note. Still sniffling, she pulled it out and blinked at the black lettering that read, Wear once and share. Be you—BeYouTiful YOU!

Megan’s phone alarmed, alerting her it was time to get going.

She wiped her eyes and groaned. They might not have been her black flats, but they were better than her ratty tennis shoes. Megan pulled the large loafers out of the box and set them on the floor. One at a time, she slipped them on, surprised they fit her perfectly. She tied the laces, making them snug and got to her feet, pleased with their comfort.

For the first time that day, she exhaled.

Megan threw her tennis shoes and the note into the box and put it under her arm. With her keys jangling in hand, she locked up her tiny apartment and hurried downstairs. A cool breeze met her as she stepped onto the sidewalk.

Instead of dwelling on the bills she needed to pay that month, she tilted her head back while she walked, noticing the skies were filled with puffy clouds in the shape of dancers, fairies and sphinxes. Smiling to herself, she imagined a future she could be proud of amongst the clouds.

She arrived at the address of her interview and peered up the length of the building. Megan wiggled her toes, unable to contain her excitement, having forgotten her shoes. She then turned her attention to the ground and gasped.

Strapped to her feet were the most amazing pair of shoes she’d ever worn. Flowers and vines decorated the velvet heels. Megan stared openmouthed at them, transfixed. They remained as comfortable as the moment she’d first slipped them on, yet they’d somehow transformed.

A chill traced down her spine, and she blinked at the entrance of the building, ready to meet her fate. Megan entered, confident and prepared. She knew who she was and what she had to offer.

When her beautiful heels touched the sidewalk again an hour later, she exited Bentley & Fields employed and overjoyed. The sound of her footsteps echoed down the avenue like the tap, tap, tapping of her dripping faucet in her apartment, but it was now a sound that brought her joy.

As she neared her street, she noticed a man sleeping on the sidewalk. She looked at his unshaven face and layered clothing. Megan came to a stop.

She slipped off the heels, exchanged them with her ratty tennis shoes and exhaled sharply as she stared in the box at what now appeared to be the same pair of leather loafers she’d found earlier. Wearing a grin, she lowered the lid over the shoes and slid the box beside the man, knowing who she was and what she had to offer.

It was his turn to have a BeYouTiful day.