A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dee's head aches. Her mouth is dry, and her tongue feels coated in chalk. It's the booze, of course, but she's been at it so long, she's forgotten what morning's supposed to be like. 

She is walking through a residential neighborhood, limping slightly. Last summer, she broke her left ankle and was too far gone to make it to a doctor.
It never healed right.

Somewhere in this city, Dee's kids are waking up without her. Someone else is hassling them to brush their hair and drink their juice. Dee can still see the two of them in her mind: little Ava, slow and still groggy, and Dylan bounding out the door to high school with his coat half-on and his shoelaces untied. It's been almost two years since Dee lost custody of her kids.

She notices something caught on a bush ahead of her. A shopping bag. The white plastic shudders in the breeze and Dee feels like that bag, blown around and empty. 

She lights a cigarette and lowers herself onto the curb. There is a small cardboard box sitting beside her on the sidewalk. She peers inside and discovers a discarded pair of red shoes. 

Red. 

Red can't be the right word. It doesn't begin to describe the color of these shoes, or the way the sight of them makes her feel. What kind of woman owned these shoes? Dee is sure she's never been that kind of woman. She's got no use for them, living on the street and it's stupid for her to be thinking what she's thinking, but Dee needs these shoes. She needs them real bad. 

Dee butts out her cigarette on the pavement, leaving a black smear of ash. She opens her backpack and slips the shoes inside. Then she gets to her feet, shoulders the bag, and  continues on. 

Is it strange to try to live up to a pair of shoes? Maybe. But it's a start.

1 comment:

  1. Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. It's not the pair of shoes. It's what happened when she placed them on her feet. There's always hope.

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