The Pink Shoes

By Mozhgan (Ocean) Mahjoob

                         The Pink Shoes

The little snowflakes were falling down from the foggy sky and a cold wind was blowing. The street was covered with ice crystals. Everyone was in a hurry to reach home as the weather was extremely cold.

“Buy a handkerchief for yourself please,” said a small boy. His hands were red.

“Help, help me for God’s sake my children are hungry and waiting at home,” an old man on his knees was shouting and crying but no one heeded him.

People were busy with their own works. There was the music sound in some shops and the smell of roasted steak of the restaurants filled the air.

A small girl rushed to the bakery and said, “Give me a loaf of bread uncle.” Her fingers were insensible and her shoes were wet.

“Hey you girl come and stay in the line.” “It’s my turn, don’t you see ?” shouted a tall man.

She went to the line. After fifteen minutes she got a loaf of warm bread that was wrapped into a paper and walked away.

While walking through the street she saw something in a shoe shop. Yes, she saw a pair of nice and pink shoes. She looked at them for a while. They seemed to be so expensive she thought ; consequently, she continued her way and her feet got really cold.

“Look at her dress look at her shoes,” said a small boy to his friends. “Her father doesn’t buy her even a pair of shoes,” said another one. “Let’s go boys ! She is a beggar,” said the other one. The boys laughed and ran away.

The small girl cried but said nothing until she reached infront of a blanched door of a house. She knocked on and a young and slim woman opened it. She run inside the yard that was covered by snow and and entered into a thatched room.

It had a ruined and wooden door and an old, gray carpet was inside it. There were two old mattresses with patched pillows. The weather was cold inside the room. The young woman brought some firewoods from the kitchen into a black brazier and asked, “Did you buy the bread Maryam ?”

“Yes, Mom I did,” Replied the small girl who was setting next to the window and looking at the snowflakes that was falling down.

The weather was getting darker inside the room. The young woman turned on a candle and brought some cooked cauliflower into a dish. After having dinner Maryam said, “Mom my shoes are too old, they can’t be repaired anymore and I need a warm coat too. ”

With a low, sad voice her mother answered, “Okay, my beautiful daughter tomorrow I will get my salary and buy a pair of new shoes and a warm coat for you.”

Then Maryam asked, “Mom did my father love me?”

Her mother answered, “Of course he did my dear.”

“Then why did he leave us alone, Maryam asked.

Her mother was astonished and didn’t have an answer to this question. “He had to leave us and it wasn’t in his control to stay with us,” replied her mother tears were flowing down her cheeks.

“Then why didn’t he take us to heaven,” Maryam was asking herself but there was no answer for her question. She wished her father was still alive or take them with himself. She thought if her father was there then they would not have suffered that much and other kids would not taunt her because of her shoes and clothes.

The next day her mother went to a big and modern apartment. There was a beige color couch inside its hall with some golden color dishes filled with candy, nuts and dark chocolate on the golden color tables in front of the couch. The room celling was covered with hidden white and brown color’s lights. A fat woman and a young girl were setting on the couch and there was a big TV in front of them on the wall. The young girl asked her mother to change the channel as it was the time of her favorite show and they were eating the sunflower seeds.

Mariam’s mother washed their clothes and cleaned the rooms till the afternoon. She was so tired but happy that she would get her salary today, so she could buy a pair of new shoes for her small daughter. Suddenly the fat woman who was the owner of that apartment entered the room and said, “Where is my golden ring I put it on the table but it isn’t there.”

Maryam’s mother was distressed and said, “I swear I haven’t seen it.”

“Don’t lie I know you have stolen it, ” shouted the woman.

“No, no I swear on my daughter that I haven’t stolen it,” Maryam’s mother cried.

The fat woman shouted at her again, “Get out of my house ; otherwise, I will call the police.”

Maryam’s mother begged her, ‘Please pay my salary as I need it. I must buy a pair of shoes for my daughter and she is waiting.”

But that woman pushed her out of the house and the fat woman’s daughter said, “Mother you are a great actress you hid your ring and accused her for stealing it.”

She laughed aloud and said, “It was two months that I didn’t pay her salary, so I played such a drama to pay nothing to her.”

“But mom you should give me the money as I invite my friends for a lunch party in a fancy restaurant tomorrow,” said the young girl.

“Sure I have kept them for you, ” answered her mother. She hugged her mother and said, “I love you so much mom.”

“Me too honey,” replied her mother. They both hugged each other and sat to watch the TV.

The weather was still cold when Maryam’s mother arrived home. Maryam saw that her mother was so tired and depressed. Her eyes were red. Tonight, they didn’t have even a piece of bread to eat. Maryam guessed that her mother didn’t receive her salary again and went out in the yard. There was a thunderstorm in the sky and it was raining tonight.

She looked at the sky and shouted, “Stop ! stop all these why should we live such a life ? Why we have nothing to eat. Why I cannot wear a warm coat in this cold winter. Why my mother cannot buy a pair of shoes for me?”

Her tears were washed with the drops of rain.

Her mother heard that she was crying outside the room. She rushed, hugged her and said, “Please calm down my lovely daughter.”

“No, Mom I can’t,” said Maryam

“Yesterday children laughed for the patches of my dress and my old shoes and I was really hurt. Our neighbors’children do not want to be my friends. They can wear warm coats and shoes but I never have had a pair of new shoes in the winter to walk on the snow, rain and mud. Our neighbors use electricity and other heating equipment at home while we aren’t even able to buy some woods for the kitchen and the candle doesn’t have much lighter. ”

“Our neighbors can eat steak and chicken but we don’t have even a piece of bread for eating. What is the difference between me and other children ? Why did my father leave us alone?  Why mom… ? ”

Tears didn’t let her to continue more both mother and daughter cried together ; suddenly, there was a lightening in the sky.

Her mother said, “Those who taunt and laughed at your shoes and dress did not know that their taunt will hurt you and make you cry. If you want to know about your father I should say that he was a carpenter. He bought that old carpet with so much sufferings even he did not have warm clothes during winter. In such a dark and cold night, we lost him forever as he had an illness and we did not have that much money to spend on his treatment or take him out of the country.” She cried and continued : “We should accept our life the way it is and be patient with what we have right now. A poor, orphan kid should not dream big. This is our destiny. We can not compare ourselves with our neighbors now let’s go to home.”

The whole night Mariam’s mother was awake and thinking about her daughter as she lost her job. She was worried what to do now. She reminded herself of her late husband. The first time that they met and whenever she crossed from the carpenter’s shop, the way he was looking at her. When they got married he promised to keep her happy forever but he got the stomach cancer and when Mariam was only two-year-old her father passed away. Since then Mariam’s mother had to clean the wealthy people’ houses and washed their cloths. She had already lost her family in an accident and Mariam’s grandma was looking for her at home but after her grandmother’s death they were all alone without having anyone else to help them.

That night Maryam couldn’t sleep and as she closed her eyes she dreamt that she went high in the blue and white sky. She sat on a piece of blue cloud. The small white birds were flying in a circle around her. A small colorful butterfly sat on her shoulder. Suddenly an angel appeared among the clouds. There was something in her hands that was shining in the sun. That kind angel said, “This is a gift for you. Maryam.” She gave her a shiny pink box and Maryam asked, “A gift for me?” That angel smiled, shook her head and disappeared.

In the morning, when Maryam opened her eyes she knew that it was just a dream. The sun was shining through the window. There was neither rain nor thunderstorm and the ice were melting from the window ; suddenly, someone knocked the door. Maryam went and opened it but there was no one behind it. A pink box was left behind the door. She looked everywhere but couldn’t find anyone. That box was exactly the same as that shiny pink box that she dreamt last night. Maryam brought it home and showed her mother as they opened it Maryam was surprised. She couldn’t believe by seeing what was inside it.

Her eyes gazed inside the box. There was a pair of pink and beautiful shoes exactly those pink shoes that she saw in the shoe shop. “Mom ! Mom ! Look at these shoes !” “I, I… dreamt last night… that angel, that kind angel gave me this box and…” She couldn’t talk… She was happy and the happiness tears were shinning in her eyes.

Maryam’s mother thanked God. Maryam put on those shoes that completely fitted her. She went into the yard and was happily playing with the snow while her mother was sitting behind the window. She was staring at something. Who knows what she was looking at ? Perhaps, she thought about her daughter… ? Her future… ? Her education that Maryam should not face the same future. Maybe she was thinking what to do ? Or what will happen next ? It is possible that she was thinking how to provide a piece of bread to eat today and tonight.

Again, there was a smile on her face. Yes, she knew that there is someone who will always help them. She knew that God is always with them. This feeling made her to be strong and fight against the difficulties in life. Now she had a goal to let her daughter to have big dreams in life and she knew that one day her daughter’s dreams will be fulfilled as long as God is helping them and this feeling was strengthening her too. That time she stood up and went out to find a new job…


10 November, 2022