Kansas wasn’t what it once was, and neither was Dorothy. She even wondered if she had the ruby-red slippers she wore to get back home all those many decades ago. She couldn’t find them, but she found a pair of red shoes her granddaughter had accidentally left after visiting from Tennessee. Dorothy had meant to mail them back, but had never gotten around to it. Maybe they would do.
She slipped them on. Her old and slightly swollen feet were slightly too big for them, but she forced them in nonetheless and hobbled outside and up to the curb. It was noon. The sun was already beating heat into the earth as if each ray was a spike.
Dorothy stood with her feet as close together as possible, took a deep breath, and then coughed, her lungs suddenly filled with the fumes of a car speeding by. She inhaled again, steadied herself, and clicked the heels together three times, repeating the phrase: “This is no longer my home. This is no longer my home. This is no longer my home.”
It was only later, when some of the employees of the assisted living home where Dorothy had been staying started looking for her did they find the red shoes. But nobody made the link between that young Dorothy and this one who had simply walked off without her shoes.
“Happens more often than we care to think about,” one employee said when asked by the police.