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Shoes Go By

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I couldn’t stop thinking about that eerie scene as it frustrated me and me alone. A trivial moment just struck me for the slightest second and left me dismal with thoughts that were usually dismissed. Remaining were feelings of hopelessness. All I could do was cling on to the question, "Now what?" As I processed the intense power emerging from the features in her face, the knowledge of my status was strikingly clear.

My brother, my mother, and I, were wandering in unknown territory. New experiences continually hit us like cold, crisp water splashing on unexpecting faces. The rustic buildings of the town just screamed Italy. Italy differed from America in every way. Beauty was etched into every single detail around every corner. Even quaint and cheesy souvenir stores were housed inside mesmerizing architecture that radiated history. The people had an air of elegance and sophistication that they seemed to have internalized directly from the town. Rome certainly was a phenomenon and a feast for the eyes.

Our second day in Rome we ventured through the roads less traveled and scurried down concealed areas to truly grasp the authenticity of Rome. Few people ventured on the cobblestone paths, so we were free to roam. Half of the street was lit by the sun and reflected off the odd little European cars that scattered the alley. Mom pointed out that if we took a left we would get a wonderful view of the famous Coliseum. The further we walked, the more people filled the area. I craned my neck to get a view of what was further ahead. A burly man moved out of the way to reveal a woman.

She was sitting against the speckled white railing with her legs stretched out. She wore white tights, ripped shoes and a grimy coat. A grease stained pizza box covered her lap. Clutched to her chest was a baby. Her eyes pierced mine as our eyes locked. She didn't utter a word, or cry a plea of help as most homeless would. She was absolutely beautiful, but her beauty was that of the bitter, sad kind. Her dark, brown eyes were clouded with melancholy and desperation, which distorted her beauty, and weighed down her exquisite features. Her lips were a bright red that offset her pale face, framed by her thick matted eyebrows. The despair that I saw in her eyes disturbed me deeply.

How can we step over her and keep to ourselves? I too sauntered past her, and when the rest of the world tosses out the thought of her, letting it linger in the air, she remains, alone on a street corner. By some lucky twist of fate I was rewarded with a life that's filled with opportunity and potential success. Still today I can see her face though faded over time. She will always be there in my mind rocking her baby and watching the shoes go by.





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