Friday, July 15, 2011

The Two Fluffy Yellow Slippers

            Once upon a time, there was a pair of fluffy bedroom slippers. They were yellow and had huge plastic eyes sewn onto their fronts which made them look perpetually surprised. After a considerable amount of time going through machinery after machinery, and cruising along conveyor belt after conveyor belt, enduring much pain from stitching and gluing, they finally emerged from the factory of their birth, extremely fluffy.
            They were neatly packed with the rest of their buddies and transported in a huge van to their new temporary home. They were excited. All that they dreamed of was to find a sweet little girl who would love them. And they would totally love her back by keeping her sweet little feet warm and cosy. Would she be waiting for them on the “other side”?
            When the doors of the huge van opened and flooded the entrance with light, their hopes soared to the sky. Who would look upon them and finally, take them home where they belong?
            It was not to be. At least not yet. They were roughly handled, thrown upon piles and piles of other colourful fluffy bedroom slippers. They squeaked at each impact, at each squish, as they struggled to breathe amongst the others. Young and grumpy sales girls and sales boys took them out and dumped them in a metal basket in some shopping mall. And there they lay, staring at the bottom of the metal basket, not knowing what went on above them as the people strode in and out, day in and day out. A few browsed, but none who actually picked them up and loved them enough to take them home.
            Was this to be their fate? To remain in the bottom of the metal basket forever? Little tears, invisible to the human eye, rolled down their huge plastic eyes stuck onto their fronts.
            One fine day, an ordinary day like all the others before them, a little girl passed by their way. After months of staring into the bottom of the metal basket, the two fluffy yellow bedroom slippers did not hope much for the little girl to notice them. But lo and behold, the little girl rummaged through the pile and picked them straight out! She gave a gasp of pure joy and gestured to her mother to come quickly. Still, the two fluffy yellow bedroom slippers were cautiously wary. They only truly believed their dream had come true when they were lying, safe and sound, in the little girl’s bag, slung around her delicate shoulders.
            The little girl loved the two fluffy yellow slippers more than anything else in her room. She wore them everywhere around the house, even though they were just bedroom slippers. They squeaked everywhere she walked, and the little girl sometimes even wore them in bed with her, because she could not bear to part with them.
            The two fluffy yellow slippers could not have asked for more.
           As the years went by, the little girl grew up. The two fluffy yellow slippers bore witness as the little girl changed—from plasticine and dough, to make-up sets and mini radios; from toys and dolls, to books and CDs; from frilly dresses and princess hair bands, to miniskirts and tank tops. Still, the girl wore her fluffy yellow slippers everywhere in the house, and so they saw no reason to worry.
            Until the day the little girl went off to college.
           Over several weeks, there were huge changes in the house. Things were being packed up in boxes; old stuff was thrown out, new stuff brought in. Her entire room was in disarray. The two fluffy yellow slippers were confused and afraid as they sat in their tiny corner by the door. What was going on?
           One day the little girl left and did not come back the next day. Or the day after that. And even the day after that. Quietly, the two fluffy yellow slippers waited anxiously in their corner, hoping that today was the day the little girl would come home and slip her little feet into them where they can be kept warm and cosy. Then everything would go back to normal.
            After months of waiting, they began to lose hope. Other than the occasional sweeping and dusting by the little girl’s mother, no one came into the room at all. One day, out of the blue, the little girl returned, laden with bags and books. As she dumped her stuff at the door, she seamlessly slipped her feet into the two fluffy yellow slippers and gave a contented sigh. The two fluffy yellow slippers were completely overjoyed. She had returned! They would be loved again! The little girl wore the fluffy yellow slippers everywhere around the house, as she always did. And it seemed like she had never left. Everything went back to normal.
            Unfortunately, that lasted a few days before, once again, the little girl left and did not come back the following day. Or the day after that. And even the day after that. The two fluffy yellow slippers were crushed. Why did she abandon them again?
            This went on several times. Each time she would abandon them for months, and then return. She wore the two fluffy yellow slippers everywhere around the house, as if nothing had happened. As time went by, the two fluffy yellow slippers were disappointed, sad, and then angry and indignant. How dare she leave them again? How dare she slip her feet into them without apologizing first? How dare she not even bother giving them an explanation? After everything the two fluffy yellow slippers had done for her?
            Their anger and indignation finally drove them to speak to the little girl. One day when she was home, the two fluffy yellow slippers said their piece. They told the little girl how hurt and angry they were because she only loved them when she was home. They told the little girl how wounded they were over being “used”. They wanted things to go back to the way they were before, when the little girl wore them every single day, brushed their fluff every week, hugged them in bed every night. The little girl was greatly distressed over what the two fluffy yellow slippers had told her.
            She told them how much she loved them for always keeping her feet warm and cosy, but her life had changed so that she could not take them where she was. She cared for them still, but she could not promise that things will go back to the way they were. She is thankful that the two fluffy yellow slippers were always there when she needed them, even though they were not with her every day. With tears in her eyes, she told them that she truly appreciated what the two fluffy yellow slippers really meant to her—home.
            The two fluffy slippers were saddened by what the little girl had said—how things could never really go back to what they were before. Even so, they understood that things had changed, and they will continue changing. They could never regain the past, and they can never foretell the future, but they were still grateful for what they have in the present.
            The two fluffy yellow slippers went back to being two non-speaking fluffy yellow slippers. And the little girl went back to college.
            Finally, there came a day when the two fluffy yellow slippers’ huge plastic eyes had all fallen out, one by one, and they were no longer fluffy nor yellow (instead, more like grey). With a great ache in her heart, the not-so-little girl said goodbye to her two not-fluffy not-yellow slippers as she wrapped them up lovingly in a plastic bag and threw them away. After all these years, they were gone now. But she would always remember how warm and cosy her little feet felt every time she wore them. She would always remember that. Always.


© Copyright of LISA KWAN 2011

Change is inevitable. Friendships may be affected. But you will always have the memory of how they made you feel :)


ken said...

this essay reminds me of the old karangan we used to write back in primary school - aku sepasang kasut.. nicely written.. :)

Munir said...

Nice job with writing. Fuzzy slippers will always have a bubbly feeling in our memory. To me they are always holiday fluff.