Shoes: Excerpts from Chapter 17

…One time at the age of seven when I was in first grade, I was lying on my box spring mattress in my bedroom. I was always relaxed to be in bed, because I didn’t have to navigate the world.

I heard Momma’s high heel shoes clacking on the kitchen floor. When she got home from teaching every afternoon, she took her heels off to lie in bed and read David Copperfield or The Mayor of Casterbridge. But once in a while in the evening, she put her high heels back on to go out briefly with a girlfriend. They would just run to the drugstore for a Coke and Billy and Beany and I would be in charge for a few minutes.

Anyway, it sounded like Momma was standing now in the kitchen near the stove. I heard the sound of her taking a shoe off and then, with all her might, she slammed it against the back door. I sat bolt upright in bed. What was Momma doing? I didn’t think I should say anything. My room was dark but I looked toward my door and I could see the kitchen light was on. I crawled under my sheet and bedspread. I put my pillow over my head and put my thumb in my mouth. Then I carefully pulled the pillow away from one ear to listen. I heard Momma pick the shoe up. She must have taken the other shoe off because I heard her walk in her bare feet back through the kitchen and into the dining room.

As an adult, I have wondered why my mother would have acted that way. I guess things just came to a breaking point. One of my graduate school professors suggested that we all need a punching bag. I think my mother would have benefitted.

Session 23-3420

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