The Forlorn Shoes


As she climbed the steep steps to the attic, she mentally reviewed the events of the evening…

The dance at the church was meant to be a lovely celebration of soldiers returning home.  She had dressed carefully, the bump in her belly camouflaged by layers of pale pink lace.

She was to meet Richard there; she hadn’t seen him since he had returned from the battlefields.  She had spent so many days and nights crying and praying for his safe return.

She hadn’t told him about the life they had created just before his departure, she didn’t want anything to distract him from his job, and she feared a lack of concentration would cost him his life.

No one knew that they had a baby on the way; she wanted to tell no one before she told Richard.

He had returned to Kentucky two days before but hadn’t left the base yet.  They had talked on the phone and they were both equally excited to once again return to each other’s arms.

She had arrived at the church early, to help the ladies set up the refreshments.  She had intended to walk; the church was only a short distance from her home.  As she stepped out onto the side porch, her father was arriving from the fields.

He looked at her and smiled “I swear, you get prettier every day.”

“Oh, Daddy, don’t be silly.”

“You’re walking to the church? In those new white shoes?”

“Why sure, you know I walk there every Sunday.”

“Well we can’t have those shoes getting all scuffed up; Richard will be there after all.  Go on and hop in the truck, I’ll drive you.”

They pulled up in the gravel lot of the church, she have her father a quick peck on the cheek “I’ll see you later, Daddy.”

He waved as he steered the old truck back toward their home.

As the dance began, soldier after soldier entered through the gothic double doors of the church, each greeted by an anxiously waiting wife or girlfriend.  She patiently waited for her love to make his entrance.

The dance began to wind down as she stayed on her perch in front of the doors.

Had he changed his mind??  As hard as she tried, she couldn’t prevent a few tears from trickling down her cheek.

The ladies from the church began to put away the chairs and tables as one of their husbands pushed a broom around the floor, they all seemed to keep one eye on her.

Feeling defeated, she walked to the rear of the sanctuary to retrieve her jacket and begin the walk home.  As she threw the jacket over her shoulders, she saw the doors burst open and the sheriff walk inside.  He immediately saw her and began walking in her direction.

Her heart sank to the pit of her stomach; she could feel the bile rising in her throat.  She knew the sheriff never visited a church dance with good news.

By the time he reached her, she was unable to contain the
tears that had found their way down her face, leaving wet trails as they dripped from her chin.

“Something has happened… it’s Richard.”

She shook her head, she was unable to speak, her throat felt as though it had swollen shut.  How could anything have happened to him?  He made it home from war, safely… and now??

“This is the last thing that I want to tell you” the sheriff said as he pulled an envelope out of his pocket, she saw that it had her name written on the front “Richard took his own life today, this is all that we found with him” he said as he offered her the letter.

She stared at it for a few moments, wondering if she didn’t take it, if this wouldn’t be real.  She desperately wanted this to be a nightmare.

She hesitantly took the envelope, turned and walked to a solitary corner of the church.  She held the envelope with both hands, frightened to see what was inside.

After a few minutes, she looked up to see everyone staring at her.  She took a pale pink manicured nail and opened the envelope, pulled out one piece of folded paper.  She, again, held that in her hands, willing it all to be untrue.

She slowly unfolded the letter…

“My Love,

I have to tell you that I love you to the ends of the earth, I could never live with the thought that I could disappoint you.

I never told you, but I was injured while I was overseas.  I didn’t want you to worry or distract you from your schooling.

The doctors told me that I’d never be able to father children and I know that it was always your dream to have a little house full of children.  I can never give you that and I would never be able to live with the fact that you sacrificed your dreams for me.

I will always love you, my darling, from beyond the grave… but I want you to find happiness with a man that can give you all of the things that you want, and you deserve.

Please don’t morn me, know that I am doing what is best… and I will forever love you and cherish every moment that we ever had together.



She held her breath as she read each word over and over.  She crumbled to the floor, the sobs shaking her body.

She didn’t know how long she had been there when her father came in, picked her up and carried her to the truck.

She continued to sob even after she had run dry of tears.

When they arrived at the farmhouse, her father carried her inside and upstairs to her bedroom.  She sat in a chair at the foot of her bed, unable to speak and barely able to breathe.  It was times like this that she missed her mother the most.  Her father was wonderful, but he didn’t know what to say at times like these, but who did really?

“Daddy, I just want to go to sleep now, and think about all of this in the morning.”

“Of course Sugar” he said as he walked over, gave her a long embrace and kissed her on the forehead, before walking down the steps to his bedroom on the first floor.

She sat in the chair for a while, taking deep breaths, knowing what she had to do.  She walked over to the mirror, straightened her hair, powdered her face and sprayed a little of the perfume that Richard had sent her on her neck.

She crossed the hall to the room that had, in better, times been the maid’s room.  In the corner of the room were the steps to the attic, she opened the door and took the steep steps to the summit of the house.

Once in the attic, she turned on the lone lamp that sat on the sewing machine table and looked out the only window in the room.

She pushed the panes of glass until they fell silently into the shrubbery below.  The cool breeze rushed inside, making her shiver.

She stood on the window sill, her white shoes slipping as she stood there.  She turned back toward the inside of the room and kicked the shoes off, turned back to the outside and leapt

She joined Richard as her pretty blond head struck the stone cistern top.20131110-194311.jpg



~ by trippybeth on November 12, 2013.

7 Responses to “The Forlorn Shoes”

  1. No wonder the noise did not bother you as you worked through this story –

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