the dead woman's shoes



I have a friend named daniel.  he is fifty-six, and his second wife died in november.  his first wife died six years ago.  the first time we met, he told me he didn't love either of them.  
the love of his life lives in france.

they haven't spoken in ten years.

he doesn't want to call her, he explained.  she might still live with her mother, and her parents hated him.  he wanted to write her a letter, but she doesn't speak english.

this is where I come in.

we wrote dozens of letters.  he wrote on scraps of paper, old envelopes, backs of receipts.  I translated.  after a month of writing, translating, crossing out, we had a letter.  he mailed it on valentine's day.

daniel gave me a pair of louis vuitton shoes from paris. they belonged to his wife.  I can't bring myself to wear them.