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This story by Madhvi Ramani considers the struggle of one woman to measure up to the beauty standard

The first thing I saw were her feet and right off I knew she was a stunner. By then, I had become a connoisseur of feet. Feet and lower legs to be precise.

I had just moved into a basement flat in South Kensington. It was a curious place to be, stuck halfway between the earth’s surface and the underworld. The front room had a window that looked out at the main road. The pavement was at eye level, and just above it, about 30 centimetres high and a metre wide, was the sky. Across this patch of sky would skate, run, walk, shuffle and stumble legs of all shapes and sizes.

I was hanging up a print of ‘The Scream’, when I heard the approaching tap tap tap of her heels.

The only reason I turned to look at those feet was because I had heard them coming down the steps that led to the pavement from the flat above me and I was therefore curious to see what my neighbour looked like.

I saw a perfect white foot held in a high-heeled leather shoe, in an arch that reminded me of the shape that women’s feet make just before orgasm. One of her delicate ankles was decorated with a thin silver anklet from which dangled a single pink pearl that rolled against her marble-smooth skin as she walked. Her leg – from what little I could see of it – was shapely and firm. Before I could get to the window to get a better look at her, she was gone.

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