Shoes Made of Red Patent-Leather

My life has never been easy. I have always fought for surviving.

I never knew my father, because he died at the same night when I was borned. In a car accident, my godmother used to say.

My mother has been an alcoholic and addicted to drugs since I borned. I still remember how the socialworkers visited in my home daily, abusing my mother and taking me to different socialoffices, where these fat old men asked questions about me and my mother's lifestyle and so on.

I was ten years old, when I moved in to a children's home for the first time. I never forget that humiliating moment, when me and my mother were in one of the supermarket in Moscow. That day was one of those few days, when my mom was sober. We had planned to buy me a new pair of shoes, and soon we found shoes that looked nice. I still have the shoes, although they don't fit me anymore. Those red patent-leather shoes are the only memory of my mother in her happy times. However, the shoes also remind me about that, when the policemen arrived to that shoestore and dragged me with them. I cried and yelled for mom, and mom tried to persuade the policemen to let me go, but it didn't help.

The policemen took me to one socialoffice, where I've been so many times earlier. A lady dressed in green dress came to me and said that she was going to take me to a children's home, and that everything's gonna be fine. What did she mean when she said that? How could things possibly be fine with a child, who had just lost her mother, the only support?!

The lady in green took me in to that children's home, where everything was ready for me; I had my own room, and the other children were pretty anxious to meet me.

After few days one of the socialworkers had brought my things from my real home to my present home. My mother had sent the red patent-leather shoes to me via the socialworker. I never used the shoes.

I lived in the children's home for four years. After those four years I began to run away. Sometimes I spent a week in my runaways and then suddenly came back. While my escapes I earned my living by begging, stealing and selling myself. It wasn't so hard in the streets of Moscow, than it might sound like. In the children's home I could eat whenever I wanted to, it is true, but there were also fifty other children, and I never had my own quiet place, so that's why I left.

I guess it was in early May, when I ran away for the last time. I had packed the most important things in to my old backpack: a stack of clothes, a photoalbum (which included photos of my mother, father, me and my other relatives) and the red patent-leather shoes, of course.

When everybody had fallen asleep, I did like in my other escapes too: I opened my room's window which faced to a public street, and jumped out. I ran couple of kilometres to be sure that the nurses couldn't follow me, and when I entered to Moscow's centrum, I was exhausted. I had always had a good condition, because I have escaped from the children's home for so many times, but now I felt like I was going to die.

I never came back to the children's home again; I began my new life in the streets of Moscow.

On the Red Square of Moscow I met Roman. He had also escaped from one of the children's home, three years ago though. He was 16 years old and because he's been living in the streets of Moscow since he was 13, he was the one who really knew how to get food and a place to sleep.

He showed me the place where he had been living: an abandoned house from the years when Josif Stalin ruled Russia. There were five other youngsters living in the house too.

Roman and the others let me stay with them. We started to call the house "Staliningrad", because the walls were covered with Stalin's pictures.

We spent every day together with Roman, wondering around the Red Square and begging. The years passed us by, and me and Roman fell in love.

It was one evening in July, when I wasn't on the Red Square with Roman. It was unusual, but I had a fever, so I wasn't feeling so good. Roman ran in the house and he kissed me. His smile was so bright and happy, that I began to worry for his mental health.

 – We are saved, Clodovea! He laughed, and I noticed a tear in his eye. I horried him to continue.

 – Today, when I was on the Red Square, collecting empty bottles, I met my uncle that I haven't seen for years, not since I ran away from the children's home. Well, he invited me in his home for dinner and we talked about me for several hours, Roman babbled, not taking any air to breath between his sentences.

He is very rich nowadays, and he lives in a huge house by himself. When I was leaving, he said that if I want, I can move in with him! Roman was practically crying; he was so happy.

I wasn't so happy of the news he told me. I felt this choking feeling in my throat.

 – But? What about me? I whispered, and I felt how the tears were burning in my eyes. Roman looked at me like I was some kind of a wacko.

 – You will move in with me, you silly girl! He shrieked, – I told about you and me to my uncle, and I also said that I won't move in if I can't take you with me, Roman said and hugged me. I started to weep as well, and we both fell asleep in each others arms.

When I wokeup in the next morning, I didn't found Roman's body beside me. I started to think that yesterday's happy moments were only a bittersweet dream, and I lied down and felt sad in the mattress, where me and Roman had slept since we met. I thought that today were the anniversary of our meeting in the Red Square.

Vladimir, one of the youngsters, walked by me.

 – Do you know where Roman is? He wasn't sleeping next to me, when I woke up, I said and felt that choking feeling again.

- He left few minutes ago. He said something about his rich uncle, and he also said that he is going to see him, Vladimir said and seemed pretty tired.

 – You know, I guess you should keep an eye of him. Maybe he smokes marihuana, Vladimir said and I saw how he walked slowly out of the door.

I smiled at Vladimir's words, and suddenly Roman ran in the house. He told me to pack my things. So Roman was serious about his uncle after all!

I collected my things in few minutes and then we left "Staliningrad" for good.

 – Welcome to my little home! My name is Juri.I have cleaned your room, so you can trag your things in, said a little man, and hugged me and Roman.

I was amazed when I entered the house; huge white stairs led the way to upstairs and several massive chandeliers were hanging from the ceiling.

I fit in the mansion perfectly. Roman's uncle even sought jobs for me and Roman, where we earned pretty much! We have been living in Juri's mansion for one year now; I'm now 18 years old.

Me and my mother are keeping touch now. After I was taken in the custody of the socialworkers, she signed up to an AA-clinic and she is feeling much better now.

Yesterday I went to see a doctor and she told me some marvellous news: I'm pregnant! In the second month! Roman was also pretty excited, when I told him. The train of my life is now back on track after those many accidents, and now I think I know how to manage with the guiding mechanism!

Xalvadora