She just wants nice shoes. Black, size 8, and pretty. That’s all she wants.
“Nice shoes for church this Easter Sunday,” she tells her husband.
So out he goes, stopping at the first shoe store in town he sees. This one has red for sale signs in the windows. He walks up and down the aisles of tall shelves lined with boxes until he finds her size. The women around him are standing before the mirrors, looking down at the reflections of their outstretched feet. He pardons himself as he walks between them and their mirrors.
It doesn’t take long before he finds what seems like the perfect pair. He carries the box over to the counter. “I wish my husband would shoe shop for me,” says the friendly woman at the register. “What a lucky lady!”
He nods shyly, thanks her and leaves the store.
When he gets home, his wife is sitting in her wheelchair, just as she was when he’d left her. Pillows propped on each side of her body help to keep her upright. She asks if he’d had any trouble. “No, and they were cheap too,” he says with a smirk.
As he takes them out of the box, he reminds her that they aren’t anything fancy. She waves her hand at him, telling him he knows she doesn’t care about those sorts of things. He opens up the box and spreads the white tissue paper apart like a curtain, revealing a surprise. He pulls out just one black dress shoe, smooth and shiny with a flat heel, and slightly pointed in the front. She smiles and tells him they’re great.
He kneels down uncomfortably on one knee before her. He lifts one of her thin – but very heavy – calves toward him. While holding her heel with one hand, he uses his other hand to gently rock the new shoe back and forth until it finally comes to rest over her hard, still foot. She smiles, and he hears relief in her voice when she says it fits.
He stands up and looks her over. She’s trying to turn her foot towards her eyes – just like the women in the store were. But she can’t. And, unlike those worn by the women in the store, he knows that these shoes his wife is wearing will never even touch the ground.
“I can’t wait until Sunday,” she says, her eyes on her new shoe.
“I know,” he says thoughtfully as he collects the tissue paper and box. “It’ll be a good day…”
A moment in time between my Mother and Father, teenage sweethearts. My Mother passed away from complications from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at the age of 46. My Father was her full-time caregiver, as her illness robbed her of the ability to walk or care for herself at all. The love between them was extraordinary and rare.