The shoes did not quite match

A big blanket of glistening white snow covered the ground as snowmen and little footprints disturbed it. The snow fiercely slashed the little children, blinding them with bright white snow. All of the children walked home from school in their big fluffy warm jackets and happily skipped off. All except one, that is. He was the last to leave the big school building, shivering from the cold. He had no big warm fluffy jacket, only an old sweater with many holes and patches. His pants also had holes and patches in them. They came to the middle of his lower legs since he had them for years. Shabby brown hair attacked his little head like a monster. He hated his appearance, but most of all his shoes. The shoes did not quite match. On the left, there was a large white shoe. On the right, there was a little blue shoe. His mother could not afford shoes for him. He loathed them. All of the other children made fun of his mix-matched shoes. Nobody liked him. He had no friends. The little boy thought of this as a blue tear streamed down his face. He wished he could look like the other kids. Why do I have to be different? He thought. As usual, he lowered his head and walked on towards the little house at the end of the street.
He entered the little house and found his plump mother sitting by the little fire. Her hair was gray from stress and cloudy eyes stared into the dancing flames. Fine wrinkles scarred her face, making her look much older than she really was. The little boy walked up to her.
"Momma, are you sad again?" asked the little boy. He kneeled beside the round woman and looked into her eyes.
"No, Joey. Momma is just tired," answered the woman. She looked into the little boy's round blue eyes and sighed. "You must be hungry. I'll fix you some dinner." And with that the mother and the little boy ate their dinner, which was a can of soup and bread like their usual meal.
After dinner, it was time for bed for the little boy. He kissed his mothers' old face and headed to his little room. He changed into his too-small pajamas and crawled into bed. Joey looked up at the blank ceiling and thought.
I wish the kids at school would like me, thought Joey. Then he glanced at the mix-matched shoes on the ground. Someday, when me and momma get rich, I'll get a new pair of shoes. They'll see. While thinking he slowly drifted off to sleep, dreaming of fabulous dinners and exquisite parties.

The little boy slowly walked into the dreaded classroom with his shaggy head facing the floor, as usual. Why he faced the floor he did not know. It just made him sad because all he could see were his feet. Suddenly, a big wad of crumpled paper hit the side of his face, causing him to jerk sideways.
"Hey, it's rat boy with his ugly shoes. Can't your Mommy get a new pair for you or something? I can't stand to look at them," said Will with his big floppy ears. A roar of laughter was heard throughout the classroom and the little boy quickly made his way to his seat.
"Eww! Why do you have to sit by me?" said the girl. She plugged her nose and turned around as if the little boy were a bag of smelly trash. The little boy looked down and sat in silence.
"Haha! Rat boy is gonna cry! What a baby!" shrieked a boy.
"Do you want your mommy?"
"You need to take a shower!"
"I bet he lives in a trash can!"
The voices of the other little children echoed inside the little boy's mind. Don't cry; please don't cry...and with that the little boy felt hot tears swell in his eyes. He quickly brushed them away and curled up into a little ball and listened to the other children's nasty comments until the teacher walked in and the room was silent. The children shut their mouths and faced the teacher like perfect angels. The little boy wished the teacher knew how mean they really were.
It was time for recess and all of the kids rushed through the doors like lightning. Of course, the little boy slowly made his way through the doors and onto the white ground. He shivered from the cold and looked around. He didn't have anyone to play with. Then he heard laughter from kids.
A big white chunk of snow covered the little boy's face as a roar of laughter was heard throughout the playground. He wiped the snow off his face to find a group of kids from his class laughing at him right in his face. Then another snowball splattered on him, then another, and another. Soon the little boy was running across the playground to get away of the shower of snowballs. A group of older boy chased after him. They crossed the playground and onto the street. The little boy huffed and puffed and ran as fast as his little legs could go. Keep running, don't stop, willed the boy. But the older kids were much faster and caught up with him. One of the boys jumped on the little boy's back and started to punch him. Blow after blow he was soon covered with older boys. He shielded his head trying to stop them from hitting him, but they didn't stop. Laughter echoed in the boy's mind as pain overcame him. The image of smiling faces and fists started to blur and spin, then the world was black.

"Joey! What happened!" gasped his mother. She stared at the red swollen face that belonged to her son. Bumps were visible on his head and scratches scarred his face. The plump woman rushed to her son and looked closer. "Oh my gosh!" exclaimed the woman. The little boy pushed his mother's hands away and stepped back.
"It's nothing, Okay!" yelled the little boy. He threw his bookbag on the floor and quickly made his way to his room and slammed the door. He jumped on his small bed and curled into a little ball. Once again, tears covered his swollen face. Then he slowly looked down and stared at his mix-matched shoes. Then he cried harder. I wish I was like the other kids, thought the little boy. The little boy slowly fell asleep after his tears ran dry and he was exhausted.

A blurry vision of the ceiling came to the little boy as he opened his eyes. It was Saturday, and the little boy was thankful. He got out of his little bed and made his way to the living room. He looked around the little house and did not find his mother. The little boy guessed she went out somewhere so he sat down on the hard floor and looked through the window. He watched little snowflakes float down from the sky and onto the ground. They danced as they fell, like little ballerinas. One by one they piled on top of each other and made a mound of white snow. Suddenly, the door burst open and cold air brushed against his face. A little plump woman ran into the little house and toward the little boy screaming.
"Joey! Momma won a contest! We won one million dollars! We're rich!" the woman hugged the little boy tightly and danced around the little house. The little boy stood there. The woman stopped. "Aren't you happy?" asked the plump woman. Then a tear was visible on the boy's face and the woman frowned. "What's wrong?" Then a huge grin spread across the boy's face, a smile the little woman never saw. He began to sob and he ran into his mother's arms. They both sobbed until tears wouldn't come anymore.
"C'mon, Joey. Let's buy anything we want!" the woman grabbed the little boy's hand and they both happily skipped down the white street. Store after store they bought countless items. They bought nice clothes, jewelry, toys, furniture and anything else they wanted. After they went shopping, the little woman told Joey to stand outside and wait as she went into a nice building. The little boy waited and looked at his new toys and clothes. His cheeks hurt from smiling so much. Then the plump woman came out of the building with something in her hands. She made her way towards the little boy and dangled it in front of his eyes. They shined like silver and were odd shaped. Then the little boy realized what they were. Keys. They were keys to a new house! The little boy jumped up and hugged his mother and ran down the street to their new home. When they got there, the boy gasped. It was beautiful. There was a fountain in the front yard and the house stretched toward the sky. They both ran in and danced around their house.

Monday came quickly and the little boy was prepared. He made his way to the big living room where his mother sat. She looked different. Her eyes were no longer cloudy, but clear. Her wrinkles seemed to disappear overnight and she wore a beautiful dress.
"Come here, Joey. I have something for you," She beckoned him to come closer. She pulled out a box with a big red ribbon on it. The little boy reached out and took it. He quickly took the ribbon off and threw the lid off too. Then he gasped. He was staring at a pair of matching, shiny black shoes. He couldn't say anything; instead he smiled and gave his mother a tight hug accompanied with a kiss. "Now you can throw those old shoes away," said his mother. The little boy grabbed the old mix-matched shoes and headed outside. He walked to the silver trashcan and opened the lid. Then he tossed the mix-matched shoes in the trash. Suddenly, his eyes became wider. He didn't let go of the shoes. The little boy looked at the beaten up mix-matched shoes closer. He couldn't let them go. Somehow, they felt apart of him. It felt as if he was throwing away his legs. The little boy couldn't explain it. He rushed back inside the house and covered the shoes with his jacket. He grabbed his bookbag and the new shiny black shoes and rushed to school.

The little boy took in a deep breath and entered the classroom. "Hey, it's- Will's jaw dropped to the floor as he stared at the little boy. The room went silent. All eyes were on the boy. He casually walked to his seat, this time with his head up, facing the kids. The boy sat down and faced the board. A grin spread across his face.

****Months Later****

A big white blanket covered the ground as children skipped home in their big warm fluffy jackets. Then, a handsome little boy appeared through the doors, almost visible through the crowd of children surrounding him. He wore a big fluffy warm jacket with nice dress pants and a tie. His clean-cut brown hair neatly sat on his head like a sleeping dog. He looked very clean and rich. But there was something different about his shoes. It made his appearance seem strange. The shoes did not quite match.