For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn


It’s funny how things can catapult you back in time. A song from the summer, a particular face, or a jumble sale. Memories resurface, like uncovered artefacts that are distant and treasured all at once.

This is what it’s like for Meg, who is sorting through her belongings as she prepares to leave her house. A life that is no longer hers sits in large boxes on her lawn. Everything is to be sold, every last possession, so that she can finally embark on her new life.

Entombed in cardboard, the items she pores over are given a funeral of sorts, as she prepares to say goodbye. A breeze rustles through the curtains and she shivers, feeling the strange sensation of déjà vu as she looks over her belongings.

For Meg, one small box is her Pandora’s Box. It holds all the terrible things; items she once debated tossing out rather than selling, but couldn’t quite bring herself to do it.

At the very bottom of it lies a pair of baby shoes.

Meg’s eyes well as she picks up the tiny blue slippers, marvelling at how small they are in her withered, worn hands. Behind her, she can hear the quiet murmur of chatter. Perhaps from newcomers, here to peruse the items on sale.

Meg finds herself torn between telling them to go away and finally letting go.

Wistfully, she somewhat recalls small, round feet wearing these shoes and kicking them up into the air. But whose feet they are, she can’t recall. Did they ever exist?

To distract herself from the sudden bout of unsettled restlessness, Meg rearranges the items on her dresser. She closes her eyes and inhales the scent of cut grass, deciding she wouldn’t send away the onlookers.

Yes, selling these items is for the best. Besides, she can hardly remember what most of these things were for. Meg glances down at the baby shoes again and huffs in frustration.

How strange! To own these shoes when there are no children in the house. She’d have no need for them, not when she’ll be packing her things, boarding up her home, and finally leaving town to travel the world. Just like she has always wanted to.

Meg settles the shoes on her lap and finds a piece of paper. ‘For sale: Baby shoes, never worn’. There. She clasps the shoes again. How can anyone resist something so new and charming?

She smiles faintly, unsure why her hands refuse to let go.

Behind her, Meg’s son sighs, shaking his head as he glances at the doctor. “That’s the fifth time she’s written a ‘for sale’ sign for my old baby shoes,” he laments.

The doctor looks forlornly on. “She thinks she’s having a yard sale again. She’s sure she’s about to travel the world.”

Meg’s son frowns. He inhales deeply and the musty smell of the care home fills his nostrils. He readies himself. He puts on a smile. He approaches his mother and crouches down to inspect her few possessions. Then, with a brave voice, he asks, “How much are those baby shoes?”

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