My niece came to visit me last week. She came with just her mother, since the father couldn’t come. He was busy, working very hard at his accounting firm. As much as he wanted to come, he was too bogged down with work. They live in Florida, a good distance away from where I live here in Michigan.
Since they left, I noticed that there was a pair of shoes sitting in the living room. They were my niece’s. The shoes were in a hot pink and they had some cute little heels. They were like a woman’s high heel shoes but a miniature version of this.
In looking at those shoes, I remembered the fun times that I had when my niece was over. My niece was five, and she loved to play dress up. She even got me involved in it. She handed me her little purse and put lipstick on my face. To keep her happy, I let her do this.
Another thing I noticed about my niece was how much shoes her mother packed for her. This would explain why they would forget this pair of shoes. They were running late and they didn’t want to miss their flight.
My wife also enjoyed the niece’s company. We don’t have any kids of our own. My wife suggested that we should have kids soon. I’m not quite ready, but I”m definitely considering it. Since my niece visited, I definitely want a kid of my own.
I stare at my niece’s shoes again. My wife is working right now as a receptionist at a doctor’s office. I work the later shift this week, in a factory. For the niece and her mother to come, it was a sacrifice of both our time, for both me and my wife.
The trip was in the middle of the week, unlike most trips planned on weekends. I can remember taking them to the playground. My niece had these same shoes there, and she was dancing in them. From her mother, I found out that she was taking dancing classes. My niece wanted to show off what she learned, and I thought it was cute.
I looked at those shoes again. They were the only thing that my niece left behind. A byproduct of carelessness and haste, but at the same time, a gift.
With my eyes still fixed on the shoes, I smiled, and picked one up. I’ve heard the saying about “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes”. Entertaining the notion, I brought the tiny shoe up to my foot. Way too small. I believe that this saying only works “if the shoe fits”. I almost sat the shoe down when I suddenly looked at it again.
I brought it to my foot and slipped it on. For some reason, it fit. I then slipped the other shoe on. It fit perfectly. It was then that I felt different. Like the days of my youth were returning to me. My now golden hair was all long and curly and I had a beautiful hot pink dress. It looked like my nieces…. That’s when I realized that I was my niece. At that, I smiled and I began dancing in her shoes in very much the same way she did at the playground….
I woke up, sitting on the chair. I was holding my niece’s shoe and was once again a man. It was all a dream, but it felt so real.
When my wife got home, I showed her my niece’s shoes. She suggested that we send them out as soon as possible. The mother and the niece live too far away to get them. I agreed, and took the shoes with me. I put them in the car, while I worked my overnight shift.
After work, I took them to the post office and I sat them on the desk. The clerk weighed them and placed them in a package. Before leaving, I looked at the packaged shoes one last time. They were a reminder of her, and the fun times that she had playing in them. Upon receiving them, I’m sure those fun times will continue.
As I left the post office, a sudden sadness filled me. Without those shoes, I felt incomplete. In thinking about the discussion with my wife about having a kid, I definitely want one now. It would be a daughter, and I would buy those same shoes for her and take her to dancing lessons.
Then I could watch her dance around, clicking those cute little heels….
©2012 K. L. Walker
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