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The shoes that fit me
By Zeenat Iqbal
I had seven siblings. I was the eighth child. We were a large family and my father was the only earning member. All my brothers and sisters went to school. My sister Samina was the cleverest of us all. She always stood first in class. Atif and I fought a lot. He would always tease me: “Shabana, you’re too fat”. Sometimes he would eat the cake that mother would bake for me. But we were a close knit family. My birthday was nearing and I wanted a pair of shoes as a gift. Unfortunately Mother did not have enough money to buy me a pair. The money she had was to be spent on Samina’s gift because she had topped in class. Instead Atif gave me his shoes because our foot size was the same. I felt quite sad and embarrassed. Everywhere I went I felt people were staring at my shoes. One day we went to a park near our house. My embarrassment made me hide my shoes as I played with the other children. I could not forget the fact that they belonged to my brother, a boy, whereas I was a girl. In school I used to sit with my friend, Henna, at the back of the classroom. She was a close friend of mine and we shared all our secrets. I never hid anything from her because she understood me. I told Henna that the shoes I was wearing actually belonged to Atif and that my mother gave them to me on my birthday. As Henna looked at my feet, comments like “How could you have accepted them?” “You’ll be wearing pants to school tomorrow, right?” etc. started to emerge in my mind that Henna may say. But instead she exclaimed, “What a lovely pair of Khusas!” I gazed at her and recalled the times when I had felt uncomfortable about those shoes. I realized that I was wrong when I felt that children would be having weird thoughts about me wearing my brother’s shoes. Henna had liked the shoes so much that she borrowed them, showed them to a cobbler and placed an order for a pair for herself. She convinced me that my Khusas not only fitted me, they looked good on me as well. Ever since then I wore my brother’s shoes with pride.