Baby Shoes

Carolina lay on the rainbow-colored carpet, the bristles ticking her arms. Sunlight struck the light catcher hanging outside the window and sent a cascade of colored dots throughout the room: blue on the walls, red on the floor, green on the ceiling. A bird chirped outside. A rocking chair with a blanket over an arm sat toward the back of the room. White clouds floated along the yellow walls, though only halfway around the room. A half-made crib leaned against the wall where the light catcher scattered light. Opened boxes filled with onesies and diapers and blankets and stuffed toys circled Carolina.

The half-painted ceiling loomed above her.

Footsteps echoed up the stairs, making their way toward her. Her husband leaned against the doorframe, chewing the inside of his cheek.

“You put everything back in the boxes already?”

She raised her upper body and rested on her elbows. “Yeah. Why not?”

He raised his hands and shifted his weight to the other foot. “We got an inquiry on that ad you posted, the one about the booties. Were you still serious about that?”

Carolina snorted, sitting up. “I wish you’d stop asking me that. I am serious. About the shoes and the rest of—of this.” She waved her hand at the boxes around her.

Her husband chewed the inside of his cheek. “C, we might still be able to use all this.”

“Shut up. Just shut up, Josh.” Carolina raised her hand, palm facing him. She stared at the unmade crib, a jumbled mess of pieces that didn’t quite fit together.

He turned, his footsteps fading down the stairs as he went.

Carolina closed her burning eyes and laid back down. Somewhere outside birds sang to each other. She hummed to get the noise out of her ears and thought about the ad she wrote. Baby shoes for sale: never worn. Even the phrasing seemed discombobulated.

She would write many more ads like it in the days to come.

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