Story: Her Last Gift

By: Hannah Yun

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Photo by Mira Bozhko on Unsplash

Thud. Thud. Thud.  The sound echoed throughout the entire library. Thud. Thud. Thud. Eyes immediately shifted from books and study materials to the source of the sudden footsteps.

“Look what you did, you ruined them!” She yelled.

Feeling a tug on his jeans he turned around, surprised to see who was standing in front of him. He looked down and couldn’t help but to chuckle at the sight of the small face, being swallowed by an oversized marshmallow jacket, and glaring with dark brown, beady eyes. Strands of her black hair peeked out of the white, puffy hood and dangled on the side of her face, contrasting with her light, fair skin.

“Hey mister! I want you to say sorry.” she demanded in a raspy voice, pointing down at her feet.

Her sneakers, damp with rain water and splattered with mud, had a design of a rainbow in the small areas not yet covered. The color, however, was beginning to fade and it seemed the shoe was tightly hugging her feet. They were worn out, and obviously way too small for her.

“See the rainbow? It’s covered in mud mister. I sold lemonade all summer for these, and when I had enough money, my mom helped me to buy them!” For a quick moment a proud smile spread across her face, then turned back into a frown. “They’re my favorite sneakers, and mister you’ve ruined them!” Before he could respond, the library doors spread open with a woman frantically running inside, “Lily! Lily, where are you?”

She ran up to the young girl and picked her up in her arms, smothering her in kisses. Lily didn’t seem to enjoy it very much.

“You must be her mother”, the young man said, “I’m sorry for ruining your daughter’s shoes, I’ll buy her a new pair.” The woman didn’t reply.

Lily said softly, “You can’t. My mom bought them for me, she’s not here anymore. I don’t want new ones.” There was a moment of silence. The woman, whose face was now flushed, began to rush out of the library, aware of the many eyes now on them. On her back, Lily began to cry out, “Hey wait. Wait. Mister! That’s not fair, you’ll get your favorite shoes ruined one day. I promise!”

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