Before I round

the corner

I hear her.

Silver K-Mart

canvas shoes

(Two for $5.00)

hitting the hallway

vinyl floor.

The rapid tapping

of her feet

almost match

the cadence of

a marching

band.

She whips around the

corner of the hall,

nodding to people

she knows as she passes.

But her eyes remain

straight ahead

watching for

any obstacles in

her way.

Her wheelchair

flies by me,

feet going,

but she is serenely

nestled in her

chair,

not unlike

a duck

who appears to

glide across

the lake

with nary a ripple,

but is paddling

furiously

underneath

the water.

Mom, I yell out,

Where are you going?

Her feet hit the floor

and she stops short,

pivoting so she sees me.

Her bright yellow

dress and pure white

hair undisturbed

by the whirlwind

trip through the

hall.

She smiles at me.

But what I remember

most of all

about this day

long ago

is the sound

of her

paddling

feet.

It remains my own

cadence,

as I now march through

life without her.

Maxine Valunas is a retired registered nurse. She belongs to the Works in Progress Writing group, which meets in Highland Park.

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