Note: Recently I participated in a writing exercise on Open Salon The challenge was to come up with a brief backstory utilizing the phrase ” For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.” As you may know the title was coined by Hemingway as the shortest piece of fiction ever. What follows is the little story I created.

It was a sparkling sunny day in the middle of winter, a brief reprieve from the damp gray days that were the norm in her part of the world. She was on her way home from the mall where she had been shopping not for herself, but for the baby that inhabited her body. The past few weeks she had sensed a change, a feeling of imminent forthcoming, and it had stirred her to begin preparation for the new soul in earnest.

She had already bought the crib and car seat, her trip today was concerned mostly with baby clothing. Shopping for this had been the most fun of all. The darling onesies, the cute little shirts and jackets. She had taken such pleasure picking them out, more than she ever had buying things for herself. She sailed through the aisles of the baby store, enjoying each minute.

At the beginning she had wanted it to be a surprise, but the suspense overcame her resolve and she asked to be told.  “It’s a girl,” the sonogram technician said, and she began to weep because she had secretly prayed for a little girl.

She was having a baby girl!  Yes, there was some pink in her shopping bags but plenty of other colors too.  The shoes though, these were pink, little pink leather sneakers, their diminutive size and sweet color spoke to her when she saw them on the rack in the store.  She didn’t hesitate a second before adding them to her shopping cart.

As she loaded her car with her purchases she spontaneously reached into one of the bags, pulled the shoes out, and hung them from her rear view mirror.  As she drove home the swinging baby shoes gave her such pleasure she began to sing softly to herself, and in response she felt the gentle kicks of her little baby girl.

The country road sparkled and she squinted as she drove into the setting sun.  The glare from the sun and the snow along the side of the road made it impossible to see the patch of black ice.  As her car careened out of control a logging truck sped toward her in the opposite direction.  There was no time for either driver to react and it was over for her quickly, brief moments later it was over for her baby girl too.

The wreckage from the accident was strewn all over, but there, straddling the double yellow line of the highway, lay the little pink shoes, perfectly unscathed The state trooper reached down to pick them up and noticed that the sales tags were still attached, he shook his head sadly and thought to himself:  “for sale:  baby shoes, never worn.”  He put them on the seat of his patrol car, wiped the tears from the corners of his eyes and went back to the accident scene to finish his report.counter for wordpress