A Little Story About How I Fell in Love
Updates, events and musings from award-winning fiction author Britta Coleman. Follow me on Twitter: @BrittaColeman
Mind you, I know how lucky I was. I was so excited I could hardly breathe when he first came out on the platform. I kept telling myself that I had to remember every little thing I saw and heard so that when I got to be an old lady I could tell my grandchildren all about it. But then I got distracted by Franklin D. Roosevelt's poor feet. I guess everybody knows he was crippled. That's why he went to Warm Springs, Georgia, all the time. But nobody ever talked about how crippled he really was, probably because it wasn't a nice thing to do. maybe it still isn't, but I want to tell the truth. I was just shocked.What I like about this passage is how Brown takes an object--those tan, crease-free shoes--to explode this moment and load it with pathos. Roosevelt comes alive as a character through his actions--leaning on that man, shifting his feet in a shuffle--and in his appearance. Notice she doesn't describe his face or his voice: just the unworn shoes and those cruel braces which contrast with Addie's freewheeling, traveling lifestyle.
Why, he couldn't walk a step. He was leaning on a man, and he would kind of shift his body and let his feet swing forward in a shuffle. My head was right even with his light tan shoes. They didn't have any marks or creases, but looked stiff and unnatural, like shoes on a dummy in a department store. There were two cruel shiny steel braces running alongside each shoe. I know I must have heard what Franklin D. Roosevelt said that day, but I can't recall a word. What I remember most is those stiff, unmarked shoes and how shocked and sad I felt. It was a good thing I didn't get a chance to talk to him. I'm sure I would have started crying and blurted out, "Mr. President, I'm so sorry about your poor feet. It shouldn't have happened to a man as good and great as you."
...After Franklin D. Roosevelt's train pulled out, I felt like I wanted to go off by myself and think on what I saw and maybe cry a little. But Long Boy hadn't been the least bit impressed. (50-51)