Never Worn

By Eabha Kearney

They sat on the kitchen table, catching the dusty light streaming in through the blinds.

Superstition told me this was bad luck, and reality didn't question it. Shoes, so small I couldn't fit

my hand inside, with button straps instead of laces. They'd been a gift from a friend, or relative. I

can't remember. Given to us before we started trying. Before the months of failing and fighting

and denial, before finally we booked an appointment to find out what was going on.

I'd been chattering non-stop on the car ride over. Whether I was distracting myself or preparing

for the worst is a mystery. Either way, it didn't work. He didn't join in, but he laughed every now

and then. That was enough.

Test results and sympathetic voices stole that energy, so the drive home was silent and tearful. He

seemed more upset than me. Sure, it was awful, but we'd gone through worse.

He left soon after. I did all I could to stop him. Promises, threats, anything I could think of. He

stayed quiet through it all, just watching me as I shouted about how he had to stay. For us. For

me. I know it was wrong, but so was everything else.

I'm not sure where he is now. Moving on. Or dead.

I want to find him. Not to bring him back, just to see what happened.

But I can't bring myself to.

I know, one day, I'll look back and wonder how I fell so far. One day, this mess will be just a

memory.

But right now all I can do is sit at the kitchen table and watch as the dust takes everything. Staring

at them.

Baby shoes. Never worn.