Friday, 9 October 2009

Memories of Feet (#fridayflash)

Sparkling crimson with high heels. Her going out pair, for when she wanted attention.  Plain black leather, flat soles, for school. Only six months left, three more exams, and she'd be finished. Scruffy trainers she used to wear to walk the dog, the wrinkles in the old white leather scarred with dry mud.

All these Aileen is placing, slowly, gently, into a black plastic rubbish bag.  All her daughter's shoes. Never to be worn again. Never to be seen again. Aileen holds each shoe still for a moment, recalling its story, before placing it in the bag. Her eyes are glazed to mask her pain, her face is smooth, expressionless, numb of feeling. Only her mouth, fallen open, betrays her horror.

Pale pink ballet shoes. Months of saving pocket money. Then a whole day shopping, choosing, trying on.

Never to be worn again. 

Aileen's own shoes she takes from the hallway and hides them in her bedroom wardrobe.

Her daughter is coming home today, and before Aileen takes a taxi to the hospital to collect her, all the shoes - these memories of feet - must be gone.

Such are the scars of war.


  1. Well written; a sobering narrative.

  2. Painful, beautifully written.

  3. So poignant. h x

  4. Ouch - that punched!
    And leaves me wondering about exactly what happened, and what war, etc. Good flash!

  5. Thanks to everyone for the comments.

    Mazzz, the story is set in Northern Ireland, the aftermath of a bomb in a restaurant. I'm sure it is a story echoed all across the world in regions of violent conflict, especially where landmines have been used.

  6. I could see this scene so clearly in my mind's eye and you don't describe the surroundings at all.
    The mother's pain was palpable.
    Well done.
    Karen :0)

  7. Beautiful, David. Made my heart lurch.

    I just finished reading THE TWELVE (The Ghosts of Belfast) which dances around the Troubles and afterward. Your Aileen and her daughter are full-blown characters of loss in a few words. Bravo. Peace, Linda

  8. I'm still catching up on last weeks #fridayflash stories and I'm glad I saved this one for when I could really savour it. Wonderfully written story and you give it a delicate touch. Well done.