Self Heeling

As the lumpy, dull cardboard boxes continue to pour in, my stomach fills with lead and the lump in my throat gets more prominent. My assistant’s assistant walks in with a box smaller than the others, placing it on my desk and hands me the delivery slip, waiting there timidly for me to sign it.
“That’s the last of them Miss Bortonè,” she says hesitantly. She stares down at her hands as I pass her the signed slip.
“I heard about what happened Miss Bortonè, are you okay?”
“I’m fine!” I snap. “It’s none of your business anyway, now get out!”

I follow her out and lock the door behind her. I know I shouldn’t be getting my mother’s belongings delivered here, but I don’t want to be alone, and in reality, now that my mother has passed, I am alone. I become crippled as the reality comes crashing down on me.. I can’t show weakness. Weakness is the root of all failure. It wasn’t through showing emotion that I got to the position I’m in today. I’m Rosie Bortonè for Christ’s sake, CEO and chief designer of Bortonè Heels. I have shoes named after me. I have an image to uphold.

I open the smaller box on my desk first and memories flow out and fill the room. Lying on top of a mess of trinkets and keepsakes are my old, brown, scraggy, suede flats. I throw them aside in disgust. Why did mum keep these? They were nothing special, especially considering the prized memorabilia that the box contained. I pick up a photo that was placed in the same box as my shoes. Mum’s favourite photo, her and I, hugging on the couch, Christmas Day 2004. I was so happy and naïve, wearing the ugly brown flats that mum had kept. Mum was wearing her beloved ugg boots, which she wore every day, no matter the temperature. To me, mum was those ugg boots; warm, soft, comforting and always reliable. I miss her.
In comparison to this photo, the pictures lining my walls looked cold and empty. Frames filled with deliberate poses and fake smiles, hugging celebrities and designers I’d only just met. In the...