School Gate Orthotics

​​I dropped Danny off at school like I always did on a Monday morning, watching him walk up the short path and past the gate. His teacher was stationed there today, in the bright-yellow vest that they made them all wear when they were on gate-duty for some reason. She saw Danny and looked up, waving at me as well. I smiled and waved back. She was good for him, this year – much better than the old toad they’d lumped him in with in Grade 3.

         I turned the key, firing the engine back up, and closed my eyes as the radio drifted on again. I love this song, I thought to myself, as an objectively bad pop tune drifted towards me, a strange mix of electronic bass and acoustic guitar.

         I nearly jumped out of my compression stockings when someone tapped on my window.

         It was Danny’s teacher, waving at me apologetically from the other side of the glass. Fixing a smile on to avoid showing my annoyance, I rolled the window down.

         ‘Sorry, Jan,’ the young woman smiled at me. ‘I didn’t mean to frighten you!’

         ‘Not at all,’ I said through gritted teeth. ‘What’s wrong? Is Danny okay?’

         ‘Oh, yes, he got in safe and sound,’ she said. ‘But I did notice that he looked like he was walking uncomfortably?’

         I frowned. Had he been? Was I a terrible mother for not noticing?

         ‘Those are new shoes,’ I half-lied – they were on their third month. ‘He might be breaking them in.’

         ‘Oh, okay,’ she nodded, biting her lip. ‘It’s just…’


         ‘I know a great podiatrist, where I take my own little one actually. They have a great range of children’s orthotics options. Near Cheltenham, just off the freeway.’

         ‘Right,’ I frowned. ‘We have a different podiatrist, but thank you.’

         ‘Oh, okay,’ she smiled weakly. ‘Just wanted to—’

         ‘I appreciate it,’ I cut her off. ‘Now, if you don’t mind, I have to get to work.’        

‘Of course,’ she nodded. ‘Have a great day!’