Her husband found the boots by accident one day. At first he thought that they must be a secret gift she’d purchased for him, but then he saw that they were not his size! He was confused and a little suspicious, wondering to himself, “What’s going on here? Whose boots are these?” He knew his wife was hiding something.
A husband and a wife lived in a mountainous country. There was a war going on, but it hadn’t reached their area yet, and it didn’t seem very important to them. They lived in a big beautiful house on a Cliffside. It was always winter and blanketed in snow. The wife was of German heritage, but the husband was something else—a different citizen, a foreigner. He was darker and smiling.
One day he had to travel out of the country for business. The wife stayed home. While he was gone, a German army invaded the area. The General conquered the area and set up his headquarters in the wife’s Cliffside house. The General was an intimidating fascist. He didn’t throw the wife out of her house, but he made her vacate her bedroom. The General moved in to the bedroom and his officers moved into the house, too.
The husband could not return now.
At first the General had almost no interaction with the wife, but as time wore on, they established an acquaintanceship. At first he simply seized her property and did whatever he wanted without asking. After he got to know the woman a little bit, he still did whatever he wanted, but he told her first beforehand and acknowledged her cooperation (as if her cooperation could possibly be an issue). He appropriated her magnificent sled dogs and said, “These are excellent animals,” as if it was a compliment instead of purveying the obvious. He ate the food she made and said, “This chicken is very fine,” as if it was not a statement of fact. One morning she saw him in a robe, and it shocked her because she couldn’t imagine that he ever wore clothing other than his uniform.
Then the war was over. The General announced that he would be leaving her house and returning home. The woman agreed, but in truth, she did not want him to go. For some reason, she was absorbed with him. Nevertheless, the General left with his army.
The husband came back, but the wife never told him that the General had occupied the household while he was away.
Years later, the wife suddenly received a package from the General. He wrote that he remembered their time together fondly, and he wanted to give her a gift. In the package was a pair of his leather riding boots. The leather was so well-polished that it shined like a mirror. The wife was entranced with the boots. She hid them in her closet behind some long coats, but kept taking them out to look at them and touch them. She would put them on and walk in them and stand in front of the mirror to admire them. She could not wait for the General to come back and wear them himself.