Short Story: The Shoes I Outgrew

Inspired from the Prism series but not a part of it.

My sister and I were born two years apart. She was Mother's cherished child and I was a bonus. We were made to share everything as children. A room, a bathroom, a study area, a bicycle, colouring books and pens. But the forced sharing of our material possessions didn't lead to the emotional connection that one sees in most siblings. We shared the same blood, yes. But not the hearts that pumped it.

Soon, the innocence of childhood came to be replaced by something else. Something that I still have difficulty understanding. When a doting aunt once showered us with presents, we ended up with identical purses, except mine was in a prettier colour. My sister told me that since she was older and more mature, she deserved the "mature" colour. Mother agreed.

When a common friend returned from a holiday, we both received pretty gifts. But my sister felt that she, being older, should have an extra item in her possession. So she snatched away the bracelet from my pile. Mother pretended not to see.

When I grew up and decided to join Medical school, my sister gifted me a pair of shoes. Something about them seemed off. They didn't fit too well, the colour made me feel gloomy and it was impossible to walk on cobble stones in them. I still looked at them in my closet and made a mental note to wear them some day. For, my sister who hardly ever called me or replied to my texts had actually gone to the trouble of getting me something. I didn't know what the shoes signified. That she was proud of me? That she kind of liked me now? That she was going to look out for me? Well, a simple reply to a text would tell me all of those things but I convinced myself that the shoes signified everything I ever wanted from her.

6 months into Med School, I decided to drop out. I wanted to act. I was doing my prep work, going to auditions and landing some small roles. Understandably, the family was upset. The claim was that ours was a family of intellectuals with real jobs and that they couldn't fathom why one of us would want to "sell her body and appearance" to make money. I was suddenly being called a whore. Out of nowhere, I had no respect for the sacrifices made by my parents. Some said that my parents had failed to raise me well. But my sister wanted to have the last say.

She announced that she loved me. And because she loved me so dearly, she wanted to "save" me from throwing away my life. She went from house to house, recruiting relative after relative, all people who "genuinely cared" for me by the way, and brought them to my home. She did all the talking. It started off with how much she loved me and wanted me to do what was "right". I calmly explained to her that I was doing what was right by me. The conversation began to look like she wasn't going to have the last say in this matter. And that's something that has never happened to her. Because starting from pretty purses and bracelets, my sister has always had the last say with me. Not this time, I thought to myself. But I was wrong.

When she realised that she wasn't going to have her way with me this time around, she laughed like a maniac before looking me in the eye and announcing to the whole room, "Well, I guess now you've officially proved to everyone that you're not my blood."

I had too many questions to ask. Questions to which I was probably never going to find answers. Why had our parents decided to keep it from me? For how long had my sister known? How and why did this even happen because I'm the younger one. It's not like my parents didn't already have a child of their own.

I locked myself in my room and thought about a million things while silent, involuntary tears rolled down my cheeks. All along, I kept looking at the shoes in my cupboard. So I got up, walked to my cupboard, picked up the pair and silently walked out of the house. I walked for a long while before settling down on a bench opposite a garbage bin. When it began to get dark, I walked to the bin and placed them beside it. They weren't garbage, after all. They were in excellent condition. They just weren't mine.

Photo credit: Hrabina von Tup Tup via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND[/caption]