Maria was only 9 years old when her father bough her the most beautiful red shoes in the whole island. She would wear the shinny red shoes to church where she would notice glares and giggles from the little kids but she would always have her head high with pride. Maria came from a wealthy but humble family in the island where most could not afford to wear shoes not to mention fancy, shinny shoes that came all the way from Europe.
Maria’s father was a business man with vast amounts of acres of land filled with prosperous resources. He was very much involved in politics and spent most time either working on land or engaged with political aspirations that were shacking up the island’s quiet atmosphere. The whole island knew Maria’s father as the man who had helped build the first public transportation from distinct rural areas to the main city and port. Although, she would notice the kids often whispering regards about her, they would not dare to approach her with any comments. There was once a boy at Maria’s school who used to make fun of her florescent backpack and left Maria with an obnoxious cry. The teachers came rushing towards her to find what had happened and Maria would have only pointed her fingers at the boy, that was sufficient to whisk him away. Since that incident, the boy never dared to look at Maria and she would never acknowledge his presence of being important.
Maria’s mother came from a very wealthy and educated family on the contrary to her father, who never saw the importance of school, he believed that one can achieve success through the hard work of his bare hands. Her father also blamed education for corrupting the mind of young man who wanted to rebel against the treatment of the colonial power.He was not a man that would waste his time talking about ideologies as his wife’s brothers would do but he believe firmly in the act of doing. He was a visionary, whatever he would put his mind and hands to it he would surely achieve at great success.
Maria was very much spoiled by her father, she had a maid all to her self who was infatuated with dressing Maria like a doll. Joana, the young maid was the daughter of Paula, the main maid of the house whom had lived with Maria’s family for a very long time. Although Maria’s father was barely at home expect for lunch time, he insisted that her daughter would be beautifully dressed and presentable. This was very hard job for Joana as she was always finding that Maria was often dirty from her mysterious and imaginary plays. Secretly, Joana loved finding Maria unkempt, being a perfect excuse to play dress up with the most beautiful closet she had ever seen, filled with dresses and shoes bought from abroad.
Maria had 4 brothers who were not spoiled like her, they were free to do and play as they like and were not expected to be tidy at all times. Maria’s brother knew that she had great expectations laid by their parents so they would use this to their advantage. Often times, you would see the brothers teasing, fighting and confiscating Maria’s journal and running around while reading some of her poems. This would irritate Maria very much, she would cry and beg hysterically for them to stop. By the time Maria’s mother would notice the incident, she would find Maria laying on the floor with her brothers fighting like a professional wrestler. The brothers, who would always start the fights, would never get in trouble, however Maria would get sent to her room where she was not allowed to leave unless told so. The punishment would not brother her, as she could spend ours in the widow sill of her room writing poems and plays made up with her imaginary friends.
Mafalda, was a very curious imaginary friend, she always wanted to know what Maria would write on her journal.
“What are you writing about this time Maria?”.
” My feelings towards people on this island.”
“What are your thoughts about the people?”
“I don’t know, I can’t understand why I have all these nice things and the kids in my school do not”.
“So, you want the Portuguese to be overthrown, you are in favor of independence?” Mafalda was a clever little imaginary friend, she was informed about everything.
“I don’t know, Papa tells me that the Portuguese are our friends and the rebels will sink our country towards misery, I heard him say that on the phone.”
“Do you think that’s true?”asked Mafalda.
“I am not sure, I just wish that all the kids could afford to wear shoes so they could leave mine alone.” Maria laid her head on the window sill with bewilderment over her feelings and continue saying to Mafalda. “I wish, I didn’t have all of these things so that all the kids in my school would treat me normal.”
There was a knock on Maria’s door and Mafalda quickly evaporated into thin area.
“Maria, you didn’t change into your knew dress, we are running late to the school’s play.” Joana said it with an almost whispering tune so not to let anyone hear the reason for their tardiness. “No, wear those shiny red shoes, your father bought you from Portugal.”
Maria hated those red shoes. Every time she would wear it all she could see were people whispering to each other ears with comments that she knew where about her. But Maria didn’t have time to think, she was late and she was the main act of her school Christmas play. She loved to sing and be on the stage, it was her world of wonderland. When she was on stage she would dose off where she would imagine floating in the clouds way up high and the people on stage would shortly seem like ants down bellow.
Everyone had clapped and stood up by her performance which seemed to be one of her best, marked in people’s memory. As she rushed from the stage towards her father that was sitting with the audience, Maria’s shoes got stuck on a crack of the stare case where she bumped her head so violently that she lost consciousness for a little moment. Maria had woken up from a dark dream and with confusion saw everyone gathered around her, making sure she was fine. Maria, immediately looked down towards her shoes with great hatred. Since, that bare moment she never laid her eye on those red shoes where she had hid it in the darkest corner of her closet. From that day, it was said that Maria had lost her ability to sing. Since then, something had changed in her, her imaginary friend had moved on to another innocent child. Maria would pass most her times writing about her emotions and finding out what to make of them .