Up With The Dancing Shoes

I like some of the quirky sights in my neighbourhood.  You’ve probably seen shoes up on the wires too. I’ve seen sneakers, even workboots, but I’ve never seen any high heels before.

I often wonder about the stories behind the shoes being thrown up there. Surely it’s not just a prank every time?

So I wrote a little story about these high heel shoes on the wires….

The sky was delicate blue when Rock told her it was over. Cass remembered noticing the contrast between the colour of the sky and the colour in her head, which was grey. She was surprised that the colour in her head wasn’t black. Wasn’t she supposed to be overwhelmed by grief and misery at the point when her boyfriend told her he was leaving her? Grey wasn’t really the background colour for such emotions.

It was like she was dressing the whole thing down so it would fade away more quickly. Or it was dressing down itself.

Rock had been trouble from the start. Not just because of his name. Rock is a name that invites a lot of commentary. The number of people who asked Rock if his parents were fans of American soap operas in the year Cass had known him was incredible. He had no sense of humour about it, usually marching off in a huff if people made jokes. Cass had had a theory for a long time that some people became their names. Like Misty and Heather and Joy. She had known a girl once named Allegra. Such a pretty name. Such a pretty girl. Pretty and lively.

Rock was definitely like his name. As in as hard as…  Inflexible. Immovable. Not solid as. Just hard as.

From the first time they went out for dinner and Cass wore her dependable Mary Janes – the olive green ones with the mother of pearl buttons – Rock went on and on about her shoes.

Dumpy and frumpy, he said.

Those shoes make you look dumpy and frumpy.

I’m 28 years old, Cass felt like shouting. I’m 5 foot 8 with an hourglass figure. How can I be dumpy and frumpy?

You have fat ankles, Rock said. You need to wear heels for a streamlined look. Dumpy and frumpy doesn’t work for me.

Rock bought Cass 47 pairs of shoes. One day Cass counted them. They were stacked in their boxes in the corner of her bedroom where she had wanted to put the leadlight lamp she had seen in the antique store. Box after box after box of shoes she didn’t want to wear. There was no doubt they were nicely made and some of the brands would make a woman with a thing for shoes swoon.

You have Manolo Blahniks and Christian Louboutins?

This guy must really adore you.

My boyfriend would never spend that kind of money on me.

Cass didn’t buy the adoration theme for a moment.

Rock had a thing about streamlined ankles.

One night he took her out to the new restaurant by the water.

AIR.

It was minimalist to the extreme.

Tiny portions of food in the centre of huge white plates.

Food designed for amoebas rather than people.

It certainly lived up to its name, by the time Cass went home she felt like all she had eaten was air.

She certainly wasn’t walking on air.

9 inch heels.

It was like walking on stilts. She was ungainly, drunk on the altitude. Fearful of taking one step forward in case she plummeted to the pavement below. She wondered what Rock would think if she tumbled. Falling like one of those vaudeville clowns slipping on a banana peel with her 9 inch heels in the air. Nothing streamlined about that.

After two months Cass missed her ballet flats. After four months her lip began to tremble whenever she saw someone wearing Doc Martens. After eight months she was so distraught she slept with her Mary Janes beside her in the bed like an odd kind of teddy bear.

Six inch heels. Nine inch heels. She hated them all.  After a year she would walk barefoot on rubble every single day rather than wear those heels. Some feet just weren’t meant to rise above their station.

The night it happened it was one of those late summer evenings where the sun is still high in the sky at 8PM. It is as if the day is never going to end. The night shadows danced on the ground but were held down by the light.

Rock had taken her to another place with one name.

VIBE.

They were supposed to be going dancing.

Cass liked to dance as much as the next person but not in the new shoes Rock had just bought for her. Jimmy Choo crystal embellished leather and mesh sandals. Silver. They cost over a thousand dollars. Cass had checked online and nearly passed out. 10 inch heels.  One hundred dollars an inch. Thin, vicious little straps like garottes, cutting off her circulation.

She felt like an elderly lady who had forgotten to wear her support hose. Staggering. Teetering. Reeling.

Cass was not feeling the vibe in VIBE.

After the first song her legs were burning. After the second song she could no longer feel the littlest of her toes. By the end of the fourth song she thought they’d have to carry her out of VIBE on a stretcher.

She looked over at Rock dancing like a behemoth in his Paul Smith slimfit pinstripe shirt with matching trilby and began to feel sick.

Then the DJ put on an early Alicia Keys song – A Woman’s Worthbaby, you know you’re worth it –  and she felt angry.

She took a step towards Rock, wanting to knock that stupid trilby off his head and slid, falling, skidding halfway across the dancefloor.

It was a long way down but it was a relief to fall. It was the end of a bad dream. It was like finding the quilt from your bed bunched all the way down at the foot when you are freezing cold in the middle of the night and pulling it back up and snuggling. Just snuggling.

You will lose if you choose to refuse to put her first

Those high heeled streamlined shoes are just the worst.

They stood outside VIBE with the delicate blue sky above them as the summer night struggled to break through. Rock’s trilby was askew, hanging off his head like a child’s party hat that has had the elastic overstretched. Cass was in her barefeet, holding the thousand dollar sandals like the spoils of war.

If people didn’t believe it was possible to break up under a delicate blue sky where the evening shines sparsely then Cass would gladly tell them that it was. And that it was the best way for it to happen because that kind of sky and that kind of light brought you to your senses and you knew, suddenly you knew, that men who were just like their names who went on and on about streamlining ankles weren’t worth it, really weren’t worth it.

And as Rock went on and on and on about the humiliation he felt when she fell to her salvation Cass couldn’t stop looking at the sky and the everlasting blue of it keeping night at bay. And she saw the wires thick and black, inscribing the sky, underlining the blue and she couldn’t help herself. She tied the straps of her sandals together.

The sandals ascended like leaves caught in a whirlwind. Up and up they flew, higher than Cass could have believed they would go.

They caught on the wires, their enmeshed crystals pale blue in the remaining light whirling for a moment as fast as a weather vane, but staying, firmly and definitively staying put.

What did you do that for? Rock was spluttering. Those shoes cost me a fortune.

Cass said nothing. She felt like her heart should be stripped bare but the sandals on the wire made her elated, rocking in the evening wind.

She walked down the street, the soles of her feet rejoicing on the cooling ground.

No heels but her own.

Walking and dancing.

Dancing and walking.

Unable to shed a single tear.

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17 thoughts on “Up With The Dancing Shoes

  1. Hi MAMA:
    Thanks so much. It was fun to write. I am glad I’ve never met a guy like Rock, although I wouldn’t say no to the shoes 😆

    Hi MAGS:
    I really appreciate you taking the time to read. And I’m really glad you liked it!

    Like

  2. This is such an enjoyable read – brilliant! You must try to publish this one. I hate blokes that try to change you when you don’t need changing – this is a very inspiring story for women Selma. I heard that trainers/sneakers on the wire outside a house means they sell drugs there – haha.

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  3. Hi GABRIELLE:
    I didn’t know that. There is a street near me where there are about 10 pairs of sneakers up on the wire – some good brands too like Nike and Converse. There must be some major drug action going on in one of the houses around there 😯

    I am really glad you liked the story. If I could empower anyone after reading this I would be so happy!!!

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  4. Brilliant! I have to tell you as a former “Cass” that if any of the heels my former “Rock” gave me had straps I think I would have tied them around his neck instead of an electrical wire! 🙂

    Sagacious Woman

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  5. What a wonderful story! There is nothing I love better than a story about a woman who decides she is worth so much more than the man who belittles her and tries to control her. Bravo… great writing!!

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  6. This is one of those stories that just brings me right into the action and lets me play with the characters. Your descriptions are spot on. I really liked the part where she “fell to her salvation” and finding the quilt bunched up at the foot of the bed… the whole story was rich and sweet with a hint of salt and bitterness. A perfect dessert.

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  7. Loved the story! You held me in the whole time. I especially love that you were inspired by that sight, and wrote a story around it. (You’re living proof of my blog’s tagline – “…there’s a story wherever you go.”)

    I am inspired by the sight too – there are a couple of pairs of shoes in my past that I would like to see find a similar fate.

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  8. Yes, I agree some people’s life paths are influenced by their names. Maybe because of what others expect, the connecions they make between name and fantasy.
    Loved the srory, and as you intended, I was frustrated all through. What took her so long????

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  9. Hi SAGACIOUS WOMAN:
    I didn’t know your name was Barbara. Nice to meet you!! I know what you mean. I think many of us have experienced Cass and Rock moments. When I look back at some of the stuff I have put up with I think – ‘Why? Why? WHYYYYYY????’ I would have tied the straps around rock’s neck too. Grrrrr.

    Hi JOSIE:
    Oh, I agree. I also like stories where men find themselves. I guess I just like stories where people can be who they really are. That’s the kind of thing that inspires me!

    Hi KAREN:
    Thank you so much for saying that. I really liked the quilt image too because there is a relief in finding it again in the middle of the night. I like it when an everyday image can reference an higher emotion. I love to play around with that kind of thing. Thanks for noticing 😀

    Hi JENNIFER:
    Your comments always mean a lot to me and you have just afforded me one of the highest compliments and something I believe in as a writer and that is, letting the story tell itself. Oh yeah, that’s what it’s all about for me!

    Hi STAFFORD:
    I would have been out of there in a white hot minute. But then I can’t even walk in heels of any sort – I look like I’ve just consumed 2 bottles of vodka – so Rock would never have asked me out in the first place. Hahaha.

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  10. Definitely shoes for showing off, not for walking!

    I have visions of someone dumping/being dumped by her boyfriend, and having to walk home!

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  11. Loved the story Selma. I’ve seen shoes tied together and thrown over wires and I always wonder what the story is behind them and how the person got home in barefeet! and why on earth they would feel the need to throw their shoes over the wire in the first place.

    Thanks to this story, I’m gonna be imagining all kinds of scenarios!

    ;0

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  12. Ah, I have a big grin on my face. Lovely.

    As I understand it, the shoes (trainers) flung over the wire is/was a gang thing… but I’m sure there are so many copycats now.

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  13. Hi MELEAH:
    They are beautiful shoes, though, aren’t they? Totally out of my budget, I’m afraid. But it is OK to dream. One day I’d like to own a pair of Jimmy Choo’s. Even if I can’t walk in them I’d take them out of the box from time to time and call them ‘precious.’ Hahaha.

    Hi TRAVELRAT:
    Actually, that is a good idea too. To walk a long way in shoes like that would be a killer. I’d throw them up on the wire too!

    Hi CATHY:
    I’ve always wondered too. I suspected that maybe it was a gang thing but I wasn’t sure. It seems such a waste of a good shoe. My quest is to catch someone doing it and ask them why!!

    Hi DAOINE:
    There is definitely a copycat element to it now. The things people do, eh? Makes great subject matter for fiction, mind you.

    Like

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