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When Erica gets home,
she urgently takes off the four inch black “leather” heels
and searches for blisters or some other redness to confirm the
discomfort across the edges of her feet

When nothing is there,
she admires the mini canvases of her toes
freshly painted from the night before
and thinks of her mother


Despite the otherwise blatant displacement of
emotional abuse at the time,
Erica’s mother manages to string a compliment together
one quiet evening, on the verge of divorcing Erica’s alcoholic father:

“You have really nice feet.
Your toes line up like a staircase, leading up and away
from everything that’s wrong with the rest of us.
And your heels are soft. Nothing like mine.”

Befuddled, her only response is the pinch of her eyebrows
and a mental note
made specifically to remember the sound of this moment
and the feel of seeing something she did not notice before


Erica scurries off to her room after being greeted home by a roommate
They’re not close enough to hold conversations beyond
the acknowledgement of each other’s presence
Although she doesn’t mind, she often wonders if any of them do

She notices a piece of mail leaned against the door of her bedroom
and picks it up to see that the front of the envelope
has a bit of a message written on it by the in-house delivery man
“Hope you’re having a great day!”

She smiles and instantly knows which roommate wrote it
then sits to take the weight off of her feet and considers:
The best gifts aren’t hand-wrapped or even bow tied with ribbon
They are ripped open with the eyes and squeezed by the soul

Britta B.



  1. awesome job.

  2. I loved the last line soo much I quoted you in my status tonite 🙂

    • aww! you’re so sweet!

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