The Red Shoes

I don’t do shoes.  I don’t have the shoe gene.  I mean, I like them, but I don’t need them.  I have very few.

But when my mother died, I decided to wear red shoes to her funeral.

My mother was an original.  She never desired to fit in.  She always wanted to be free.

Perhaps because she married so young.

Became a mother so young.

In many ways, I guess her children grew up with her.  Certainly my eldest brothers who were both born long before she turned 20.

She played the role she had to play.

But her true self was always elsewhere.

A woman of immense love, and nowhere to let it free.

I wore red shoes to her funeral.

She’d have thought it was utterly appropriate.

Funny – when the hearse arrived bearing her coffin, and the attendants opened the back of it to bring her coffin into the chapel, people moved away.

They stepped back.

I stepped forward.  And put my hand on her coffin.

To keep her company when no-one else would.

To be with her.

In my red shoes.

I planned her funeral.  Chose her clothes, her flowers, her perfume, her coffin.

And none of it was ordinary.  She’s have been very disappointed if I had chosen ordinary.

She had jazz music, a bright green blouse, masses of outrageous yellow roses, and a white coffin.

Glossy.

She’d have laughed, we’d have had wine, and red shoes.

And talked about how silly it all was.

And what a waste of money.

Ever practical.

My mother.

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