Thick drops of rain fall from a dark sky, thicker still are the tears that roll down the swollen cheek of a woman dressed in all black as her boney fingers clutch the front of her jacket closed.
A mother, thinned out from lack of food. The depression had taken away her appetite just as a faceless stranger driven by greed had taken away her son.
Kind words are said as the priest blesses the box that holds her son. Her eyes are wide, frozen as she watches the thick raindrops bead against the sleek wood and roll away.
The only way she could possibly explain what she felt, if she were to try to put this feeling into words the only way she could express herself was to say that she imagined this is what dying felt like. Her heart beat heavy, as though at any moment the broken pieces would stop trying to work together and just give up. Her faith in humanity died along with everything else inside her.
The box lowers, she could call it a coffin but she knew what it was. It was a box, similar to the shoe box she had kept tucked away hidden under her bed with all her precious belongings in it, now this box held the most precious thing she could have imagined, and he was being tucked away from the world, hidden away from the dangers that had put him there.
Choking on a sob, she falls to her knees on the muddied ground.
What has the world come to? She wonders. When owning an expensive pair of shoes is more important than a life. Someone had killed her son, a boy gone before he ever got the chance to be a man, because of the shoes he walked in and the contents of his bag.
Her son meant less to this man than the material items he carried.
A world of consumers.
They tell us what to buy and those without are cast out, black sheep in a flock with no shepherd, yet they still manage to walk together.
Mindless, so ready to follow they’d do anything not to be left behind. They need to be with the herd. They would spend all they have, do all they could to stay a part of a flock of materialistic consumers that no longer have any values or common sense.
Now her son lay in a box, all alone with no expensive gadgets or clothes to show for his life.
And she was left behind, with a room full of things that didn’t matter.
Because her son had spoken out, refused to be victimized and had said; “No”.
No, he wouldn’t give up these things. Not because he needed them, not to stay in the flock, but because she had bought them for him. His single mom who had worked two jobs to ensure he had everything.
It was because of her hard work and how much he loved her that he cherished the things in his bag and the shoes on his feet.
It was because of that he refused to give all he had to a sheep, a blind consumer, and it was because of this that he lost his life.
Give it al up, she would have screamed to him. Take off your shoes and toss his bag. Burn everything they own if it meant she could have her son.
A pair of shoes and a bag.
That had been the price of her son’s life.
A pair of shoes and a bag…
She lets the rain drip off her, down her face and soak through her hair. She doesn’t feel the chill of the cold air, doesn’t feel the rain completely soaking through all that she wore. She didn’t feel anything, not anymore.
She had committed her life to her son, been sure that he had all he needed, pushed him to be the best that he could, and tried to teach him values that would make him the best person he could possibly be.
Now he was gone.
Everything she lived for was gone.
A pair of shoes and a bag… that guy had taken away two lives for them.
When push came to shove, in a materialistic world, and everything came full circle, she wondered what his life would be worth.