My Mother Was 28 Years Old When My Shoe Size Was 28

It was around the ages five and a half, and six, that I
first started to step into her chic, pointy, cream white
stilettos, trying to balance myself in them as my tiny feet
slipped forward and squished inside the pointed-toe, leaving
half of the shoes behind my soft heels empty. My mother

would warn me against the possibility of spraining my thin
ankles or breaking them if I continued to wear the shoes,
but a girl starts young in adoring her mother thus adorning
herself with her possessions: nothing more like the thrill of
uncovering a pirate's treasure.

Once, people adorned colorful beads and flashy feathers and
danced to the rhythm as they felt beautiful, dazzling others,
and becoming one with the world. Mimicking your ancestors
to understand and reach beauty must be a uniquely human
condition embedded in our code since I didn't care about 

breaking a leg as I wobbled on those shoes, nor being scolded
whenever I donned one of my mother's shoulder-padded blazers
she wore for work, her bead necklace dangling under her silk
scarf wrapped around my neck, and her round, mother-of-pearl,
clip-on earrings covering the lower half of my ears. But my favorite

item was a silver ring, with a big, oval, black hematite stone at its
center. Her lucky ring, not expensive, but precious, and bigger in size
even than my thumb. I was never able to wear it, not even when I turned
twenty-eight: Not being stored properly, with all those move-ins and outs
over the years, it fell apart badly inside the corner of an old, worn-out

makeup bag. I was sad, but by that time I had a completely different
fashion sense, and my mother's taste appealed to me no more.
As she got older and a bit bitter from fighting against the continuous
hardships of her life, along with the lucky ring, everything she possessed
fell apart, discolored, ripped, and got lost. She couldn't care much nor

replace them when all she could do was work, work, work, to get by, 
to feed the people and the animals that looked up to her to survive, so,
if she shed a secret tear every time a colorful pantsuit from the 80s became
ruined, or when she saw her precious ring in pieces, I wouldn't know.
I did buy her a new silver ring, with a black onyx stone this time, and 

though disappointed a little since the stone was not hematite, she smiled 
and thanked me, and wore it on a couple of occasions. It was all I could do
to give her back at least a tiny portion of those memories, without travelling
in time and dragging that wardrobe, along with her little peacock, back.

About The Author

Ecem Yucel is an Ottawa-based Turkish writer, poet, and translator. Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Wine Cellar Press, Cypress Poetry Journal, and Alien Buddha Press. Her poetry book "The Anguish of an Oyster" is on Amazon & Kobo. Find her at or on Twitter @TheEcemYucel.