“Caitlin, can I borrow your shoes lying here by the door?”

“Ok Ma, but please don’t get out of the car when you drop me at the party. If my friends see you wearing my shoes I’ll just die.”

“Do they go with my outfit?”

Caitlin rolled her eyes, “LOL Ma, anything would go with that outfit!”

Judy glanced down at what she was wearing. She thought she looked good for a forty-something year old. “Come on Sweetheart, we’ll be late if you don’t hurry.”

Sheesh, I was ready 5 minutes ago!”

As they pulled out of the garage onto the residential Johannesburg street Judy looked across at her daughter. “What on earth are you wearing?”

“It’s the fashion Ma!”

“Right, so how would you like it if I walked around with my belly button sticking out like that?”

“That’s gross!”

“Ja – exactly!” Judy indicated to turn right and glanced in her rear view mirror. “Did you pick up your clothes off your bedroom floor? I wish you’d worn a different top.”

Caitlin pouted at her phone, “No, my nails were wet. So I ran out of time.”

Judy sighed. Why did it feel so much as if she was lost in a maze? She had never got away with speaking to her own mother in the way Caitlin spoke to her. Perhaps she wasn’t strict enough. Girls these days seemed to have so much more confidence, and freedom.

Caitlin spent the rest of the journey pulling faces at her phone while her thumbs glided around the screen.

And self-absorption.

As she pulled up at the Whites’ home she addressed her daughter, “Dad’ll be here at 12 to collect you, don’t keep him waiting.”

Caitlin groaned, “When will you ever let me sleep over like everyone else?”

“Don’t start this again now Caitlin.”

“Ma, I’m old enough to look after myself you know!”

“Sure you are, please remind me that next time you ask me for a lift anywhere. And another thing, I know there will be boys there tonight so just don’t go near them!”

EWW , I won’t.”

Judy watched Caitlin until she entered the house and then pulled away from the kerb just as another parent drew in up behind her to discharge a group of bouncing teenagers. The rumours must be true – Sue White had to be crazy. Who in their right mind would offer to host an all-nighter? They say her husband was at his wits end when he finally left her. Her new boyfriend was some arty type.

On her way home Judy’s worrying escalated as her mind flicked back to the awful groping encounter she’d been victim to in the darkened corner of a house party nearly 30 years before. About one kilometre from home she noticed Caitlin’s handbag so finally found the excuse to turn around and fetch her. Arriving back at the party she parked in front of the double garage and pulled out her phone to call her daughter. After ringing several times it went onto voice mail. Next she sent her messages on three different messaging apps and waited. No response. Exasperated she finally climbed out of the car and rang the front door bell. She could hear the deep rhythmic thump of music.

It was answered by Kirsty White, Caitlin’s friend. “Good evening Mrs Haynes. Nice shoes – very trendy for a lady your age!”

“Thank you Kirsty, I have something for Caitlin.”

They both had to yell to be heard over the music.

Kirsty asked her in and went off in search of Caitlin while Judy waited in the hall. When they reappeared Caitlin frowned so deep her brows nearly reached her pout. “Ma! Why are you back?”

“You forgot your phone charger.” She leant towards her, “And your women’s supplies, are you feeling OK Sweetheart? You sure you don’t want to come home?” She handed her a red velvet pouch.

Caitlin blushed the same shade as the little bag. “I’m fine Ma, I’m staying.”

Kirsty interjected, “Your Mom’s so cool, Caitlin– she’s got fashion sense and she’s so kind!”

Caitlin glared at the shoes.

“You sure Sweetheart?”

“Yes.” Caitlin shot her mother a conflicted look over her shoulder as the girls made their way back into the house. Paula overheard Kirsty’s remark, “How embarrassing was that?”

Sighing, Paula let herself out. She recognised another moment in the ongoing struggle she had with letting go at each stage of her daughter’s development. Once again she was one step behind, trying to keep up in shoes that are now too big for her own feet. Just as long as she doesn’t walk in my footsteps, she mused.

She climbed back into her car and buckled her seatbelt. At that moment a message beeped on her phone and she glanced down.

Tnx Ma C U L8R. LUV U C8L1N Xxxxx

In response to the Daily Prompt :Rhythmic

4 thoughts on “In Her Shoes”

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