The Island’s Red Shoes

Chapter 1

Maria was only nine years old when her father bought her the most beautiful red shoes that she had ever seen. She would wear shiny red shoes to the church ceremony, 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 on the island where most could not afford to wear shoes, not to mention fancy, shiny shoes from Europe.

Maria’s father was a businessman with vast acres of land filled with prosperous resources. He was actively involved in politics and spent most time either working on his properties 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 city and port. Although she would notice the kids often whispering regards about her, they would not dare to approach her with any comments. Once a boy at Maria’s school who used to make fun of her florescent backpack had left Maria with an obnoxious cry. The teachers came rushing towards her to find out what had happened. Maria would have only pointed her fingers at the boy, and that was sufficient to whisk him away. Since that incident, the boy never dared to look at Maria again.

Maria’s mother came from a very wealthy and educated family, contrary to her father, who never saw the importance of school. He believed that one is able to achieve success through the hard work of his bare hands. Her father also blamed education for corrupting the mind of young men who wanted to rebel against the treatment of the colonial power. He was not a man who would waste his time talking about ideologies as his wife’s brothers would do. He believed firmly in the act of doing. He was a visionary who would put his mind and hands and great success was the outcome.

Maria was extremely spoiled by her father. She had a maid all to herself who was infatuated with dressing Maria like a doll. Joana, the young maid, was the daughter of Paula, who was the main maid of the house and had lived with Maria’s family for many years. Although Maria’s father was barely at home except for lunchtime, he insisted that her daughter would be beautifully dressed and presentable. This was a difficult 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 four 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. Oftentimes 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 to the point that she would cry and beg hysterically for them to stop. By the time Maria’s mother would notice the incident, Maria would be 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. Maria on the other hand would get sent to her room where she was not allowed to leave unless told so. The punishment would not bother 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 in 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, do you want the Portuguese overthrown? Are you 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 wish 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 continued saying to Mafalda. “I wish I didn’t have all 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 a thin area.

“Maria, you didn’t change into your new dress. We are running late to the school’s play,” Joana said with an almost whispering tune so as not to let anyone hear the reason for their tardiness. “No, wear the 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 were about her. But Maria didn’t have time to think. She was the main actor in the play, and she was running late to the school Christmas play. Maria was enchanted every time she’d sing on the stage as though she had entered a world of wonderland. When she was on stage, she would dose off where she would imagine floating in the clouds way up high where the audience would shortly seem like ants down below.

Everyone clapped and stood up at her performance which seemed to be one of her best, marked forever in the island’s history. She rushed from the stage towards her father, who was sitting with the audience. To Maria’s embarrassment, her shoes got stuck in a crack of the stare case where she bumped her head so violently that she lost consciousness for a little moment. Maria woke up confused from a dark dream and immediately noticed everyone gathered around her, wondering if she was fine. Maria looked down at her shoes with great hatred. Since the incident, she never laid eyes on those red shoes that she had hidden in the darkest corner of her closet. From that day, it has been said that Maria had lost her ability to sing. Something had changed in her forever. Even her imaginary friend had moved on to another innocent child. Maria would pass most of her time writing about her emotions and finding out what to make of them.


3 responses to “The Island’s Red Shoes”

  1. You are an amazing writer. Extremely talented and beautiful woman!! I can’t wait to read more of your blogs!!! Keep up the great work!!!!


    1. Thank you Bianca for your kind words.


  2. Make sure you keep writing!!!!You are an excellent story teller.


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