It was no secret my mom was walking the streets when I was little. One of five men could have been my father. But the man who raised me was my uncle. And he held firm to the belief that it wasn’t her, but her clothes that led her astray.
Despite this conviction, he kept all her things when she passed.
“Whenever you’re ready,” he said after the funeral. “They’re in the attic. But be careful. Remember what I told you.”
“Because if I dress like her, I’ll be asking for it, too?” I said sarcastically.
“You joke about it now…”
It took me another five years before I made it up to that attic. Although I tease, I’m not exactly proud to be the daughter of a whore.
In the first box I open, I find a pair of hot pink go-go boots.
“Yep, if this doesn’t scream 70s street walker.”
I try them on, and they’re a perfect fit, but as soon as I stand, I drop through the floor, floating in midair underneath my own body.
“Thanks, doll,” I hear myself say, but it isn’t my voice. She speaks through the nose. She bends over, arching her back, and retrieves the matching tube dress from the box.
“Good god,” I mouth, but no sound escapes.
She puckers her lips and with an index finger, lightly paints them with compact balm, also pink. I cringe at the tackiness of it all. She’s a hot mess of pink cotton candy. And she’s me.
“Now,” I say, “let’s see what the men of this decade have to offer.”
She marches out, in possession of my body, while I stay in place, underneath the floorboards.
© 2021 Nortina Simmons
“Dead Man’s Shoes,” dead woman’s go-go boots. Best to keep these locked up, lest you end up in Jordan Peele’s sunken place. You never know who you might let out…