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Walk A Mile In My Shoes

by Liz Dobson


       

Synopsis

Following the death of their beloved Mother, Sue and Mary decide to clear out some of her personal belongings, to protect their father Maurice from the distress that this would surely cause. They persuade him to go out for a drink whilst they begin to clear out the spare room in their father’s house, where most of their mother’s possessions were stored. Their task is delayed as they spend time reminiscing over old photographs and documents, but eventually the serious work of clearing out begins.

While sorting through old boxes containing shoes, handbags, photographs and old documents, they find some love letters and cannot resist the temptation to read at least one of them. The addressee on the envelope is illegible however the contents of the letter leads them to believe that it was written from their father to their mother; that is until the letter ends with the words “From your beloved Ernest”. The fact that their mother had enjoyed a relationship with a man other than their father was not a surprise to the women, however the fact that this relationship took place during the time that she was betrothed to their father was.

When Maurice returns and hears them discussing the letter and realises that to preserve their loving memories of their mother he must be completely honest and he has no alternative but to disclose the most intimate secrets of their parents’ lives. With great difficulty, he explains that the love letters were in fact sent to him from his lover Ernest, a pilot in the Air Force. Maurice described how he was injured in the war and returned to England to recuperate and it was their mother who nursed him back to health. During this period of recuperation, both Maurice and their mother experienced personal tragedies; Ernest, their father’s lover was killed and their mother became pregnant by a married man and was in danger of being disowned by her strict parents.

Maurice and their mother had become close friends and decided that they would marry to provide a father for her unborn child and Maurice with a reason to carry on. Their mother subsequently miscarried, but they enjoyed a loving marriage and went on to have Sue and Mary. Both women find these disclosures shocking, but Mary is unable to accept her father’s past and leaves the house. Maurice is distraught; however, this turns to joy when she returns to declare her love for her father and explains that her reason for returning is that she realised “I’ve never walked a mile in Dad’s shoes” and until I have, I’ve no right to judge him.


Duration

45 mins approx

Characters

(1m, 2f)

  Sue - 40s
  Mary - 40s, Sue's sister
  Maurice - 70s, their father

       

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