“Twisted.” That is the word Rebecca’s mother, Eva, will use to describe the shoes. It’s a word, an image that will drop into Rebecca’s memory; a haphazard seed, taking root. “Twisted,” Eva will declare wringing her hands as if she were squeezing the life out of a wet washcloth. Rebecca will picture black lace-up oxfords with thick soles and a hard raised heel – prison shoes. In her mind, they are contorted, cartoonishly, into corkscrews.
Rebecca will imagine the girl in the shoes when they were new, shiny. Or, maybe they had been worn by others before her and were beat. Perhaps they were too tight and pinched the girl’s toes, or too loose and caused her to shuffle her indignity across the floor Rebecca will ponder. Rebecca will see her in a loose, rough cotton shirtwaist with button tabs where the waistband should be. A dress the color of schoolroom walls, holding areas, of bus station lavatories – numbing and anonymous. Her dark hair spread out stark and alarming against the Vaseline green of the fabric; shocking in its refusal to lie flat and quiet, it coiled and curled wildly, too obvious, dangerous. She will picture the girl as stocky and square and sturdy in her shoes. And angry. Her face, Rebecca will think…her face is…? Familiar.