|Creative Writing Competition 2012 India|
|OBJECT||Any Jewellery – Necklace, Ring…|
|THEME||True Love Triumphs|
Editor’s Choice: The Two Inches – Love Short Story
I saw the white ceiling with luminous lights moving, I felt myself moving. I knew four hospital caretakers were by my side now, but I didn’t feel my heart at ease. The bed I was lying on was soft, but I felt like sleeping on sharp nails. I was nervous. Whenever I feel uneasy, I always subconsciously turn my ring on my right hand with my left hand. I stared at the ring. Flashbacks started to emerge.
I was born with a defect innately – my left leg is two inches taller than my right one. I couldn’t forget how embarrassing it was the first time I wore the specially-made shoes. The awkward gazes and sympathetic looks by people and the well-intentioned questions by classmates all caused nuisance to me. I hated myself for being peculiar. Everything seemed to be so perfect on its own but why was that they jarred with each other when put together? Why was I different with others? I was indeed sad about this. Later an incident happened that changed me for life.
One day, my mother took me to have my shoes tailor-made. That was my 15th birthday. The shoe shop was situated at an end of the market which was near my home. The shop was not big, but provided tailor-made services.
As we entered, we saw a multitude of shoes, all of different styles and designs. I was attracted by the finely-made texture and the individualized design of shoes. The shop owner was a man of over fifty years old. He was making a man’s shoe. Beside him there stood a young man. He served us. My mother walked towards the shelves to take a look at the shoes on display. I chose a pair of simple style black round-headed leather shoes with a rose emblem on the head. When the young man measured the size for me, I told him that the right shoe heel had to be made two inches higher. His response, out of my expectation, was stolid.
“Don’t you find my feet peculiar?”
“No. It’s just your special trait.”
At that moment, I was moved. I felt a window opened towards my heart. He tilted towards the man who was making shoes and said,
“My father can handle that. He is a good shoemaker. Don’t worry!”
After two weeks, when I walked past the market, the boisterous sound of people talking and haggling once again filled my ears. The various commodities on display caught my attention. I saw different kinds of shops where I could purchase the necessities I needed. That day I didn’t have the feeling to avoid them. When I passed the market to the shop, I saw the young man and told him I would like to try my shoes. I was so surprised that the shoes were fit and comfortable.
Because of that, I visited this shop periodically. I found that the young man seemed to be a silent man, talking little. But when I came, he seemed to be very happy, even though he spoke little.
I often had the feeling, not knowing if it was a misapprehension or not, that he often took notice of me. He remembered my birthday. (I conveyed it unnoticeably.) He easily spotted my emotions. And at one time he asked about my view towards marriage. At that time I replied,
“I haven’t thought of that. Although I don’t feel awkward about others’ views towards me any more, the fact is that others still find me imperfect.”
The one who changed my thought was him, on the day of my 23rd birthday.
He gave me the ring. It was a special ring designed by him. There was a shoe figure on the top, at the toe of the shoe figure embedded with a ruby.
“This resembles the pair of shoes made for you the first time we met. I used a ruby in lieu of the rose, signifying my love to you is adamantine.”
His proposal really took me aback, leaving me uncertain of what to do. Seeing this, he put down the ring on the table and left. I thought this over and over again for a month before going to find him with the ring put on.
The year when we married, I was 24 years old, and he was 32. On that day, almost all shop owners and employees in the market came to attend our wedding. That day was simply marvelous!
Two years after our marriage, I was pregnant. And I got the jitter. “I worried about our child having the flaw like me. I don’t want to see him suffer.”
“You are the bravest person I’ve ever seen. You are like the ring you are wearing, unique and special. To me you’re perfect. I believe our child would be as brave as you. ”
“And I hope our child will be like you, having a pair of normal legs.”
We embraced each other, giving each other support and care.
“Take some deep breath of anaesthetic and you would be asleep very soon.” The anaesthetist said.
“Ok.” I murmured.
“Good. Are you listening? You have given birth to a boy. Continue to rest now. ” The doctor patted my shoulder and said to me. I just nodded my head as I was too tired to speak.
Slowly I opened my eyes. I saw my husband. When I tried to say something, I felt my throat aching, a side effect of anaesthetic. Even though I used all my effort to speak, it sounded as if it was the tiny buzzing of bees.
“Is the baby all right?” I asked in a weak voice.
He said “Everything’s fine. Our baby has eyes like you, so round and big. And his legs are like me, strong and plump.”
My eyes were so heavy and I started to close them again, but my mouth unwittingly turned into a smile.