A little girl leaves her war-torn home with her parents, and learns that life is built on small kindnesses in Bonnie Elizabeth’s “A Used Pair of Shoes.”
“A Used Pair of Shoes” appears in The Golden Door, a collection of stories showing the impact on people when they’re treated as “the other,” whether they’re immigrants to a country, a group of targeted within their own country, or something else besides. The title refers to Emma Lazarus’s welcoming words inscribed on the plaque on Statue of Liberty, “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Tales of mistreatment of “the other” abound in historical or religious writings from around the world and through all time. But there are also plenty of examples of people helping each other, caring for one another, learning about each other. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small—but they all add up.
Find The Golden Door
Seasons began to change in ways I had never seen. Lina did not smile, not even her night smile. Her eyes faded and she watched. Some children played a bit, but not my Lina. She had seen too much.
Young boys, boys her age, that might have been suitors in another place, talked about the bodies they had seen. They talked about the bombs that had gone off and the severed arms and legs. One claimed to have seen his brother’s head.
The girls were quiet, even those who talked. The boys either bragged or were more silent that even Lina.
Their eyes did not have the spark that normal children’s eyes did. Their pain was as clear as the dirt on their feet, for few of them had shoes, and those that did had worn shoes with holes where toes peeked out like tiny mice.
—from “A Used Pair of Shoes” in The Golden Door by Bonnie Elizabeth
Bonnie Elizabeth started writing fiction when she was eight years old. Fortunately that manuscript has long since been lost.
In between a variety of odd jobs, including working as an acupuncturist, Bonnie wrote articles about acupuncture and the business of being an acupuncturist for a variety of acupuncture journals. She also blogged as her cat while transitioning to her real love of fiction writing.
She writes the Whisper series, which begins with Whisper Bound, and has a number of other fantasy, urban fantasy and mystery projects in the works.