A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2009, vol 5 no 4

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Francis Masat


Not a Black-or-White Matter

           Key West pier –
           someone has left
           a pair of mismatched shoes

I'm standing at Teddy’s window. The bay shimmers as if layered with crystal blue sequins. Teddy had six months to live – 18 years ago. Yesterday, a new hospice nurse asked him "Why are you wearing different color shoes?" (One was orange. the other green.) "So I know which foot to put them on," quips Ted, a faux frown crossing his face, but not hiding his smile.

Today, Ted has on one red shoe and one yellow shoe. Another nurse can not resist the clichéd question. "So I know which foot to put them on," says Ted with a twinkle that belies his pained look.

In a week, though, there are no more questions about the shoes, no noticing of Ted’s long-time iconic trademark. We all wish life were different, but “Theodore’s Wake” is followed by “Ted's SALE.” And Teddy’s prized possessions are sold – in matching pairs.

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