Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rose and the Red Slippers

~Published in the Charleston Gazette - Sunday, June 7, 2009~

Many years ago, a minor ailment sent me to the hospital for a few days. I was escorted to a semi-private room where I met my roommate, an attractive sixty-ish woman named Rose. My husband placed my robe across the foot of my bed and positioned my new red house slippers on the floor beside the bed where they were convenient for me to step into if need be.

Not feeling well, I wanted to rest, so my husband said “goodnight” and left.  But Rose wanted to talk… asking the usual questions: “Where do you live?  Do you work? How many children do you have?” But mostly, she wanted to talk about how much she liked my red slippers. She said, “I love your slippers! They match my robe.” And, sure enough, there on her bed lay a beautiful bright red robe.

 When I awoke the next morning, the first thing Rose said to me was, “What size 
are your slippers?” I told her they were size five and a half, and she said, “Well, they won’t fit me then; I wear a seven. I kept thinking... “why is this woman so interested in my slippers?”

After breakfast, I slept again. When I awoke this time, I needed to go to the bathroom so I sat up on the side of the bed, ready to put my feet into my slippers, but they weren’t the way my husband had left them; they were turned away from me... toward Rose.

 I looked over at her. Turning a little red, she said sheepishly, “I tried your slippers on while you were asleep. They DO fit me!” A little agitated, I thought, “
No way.
A size five and a half shoe absolutely will not fit a size seven foot!”

When the day finally came for me to go home and I placed my suitcase on the bed to pack, I picked up the red slippers and put them in last. When I was ready to close the case, I looked at Rose and she was gazing longingly at the slippers. I felt guilty! Inaudibly, I muttered,
“Lord, these slippers are brand new and I like them!”

But I knew that He was nudging me, and felt sure that Rose’s ardent affection for my slippers was not going away. So I took them out of the case and asked, “Do you want these?” She flashed a big smile and said, “I’d love to have them; they match my robe!” When I walked over to the bed and handed them to her, she reached out, hugged me tightly and kissed me on the cheek. My husband came then, Rose and I said our good-byes and I left, never to see her or the slippers again.

Three months later, I read Rose’s obituary in our local newspaper. I’ll never understand her fascination with a pair of red slippers that weren’t even the right size, but I’m thankful that I gave them to her. I pray that, somehow, they made Rose’s last three months a little happier.

1 comment:

jon said...

Nice of you to give Rose your red slippers peggy. she really wanetd them.