Red Shoes

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” th
Marilyn Monroe

Every girl should own a pair of red shoes, my mother used to say.  She worked in fashion, and to this day still has a stylish flair.  At eighty-nine her latest purchase was a pair of red alligator pumps, accented with a black side button.

“They hurt,” she confessed to me the last time I saw her.  “But at $260, I am going to darn well wear them!”

She has some funny ideas, my mother, and they all make me smile.  Admittedly, I too have a pair of red Bass clogs in my closet – the ones with the lacy cutouts on top and the wedge heel.  I do feel put together when I wear them, although I can’t remember the last time I did.

Sensible shoes with orthotic inserts and gripping soles are what I wear these days.  That is, when I put on shoes at all – most days I’m confined to home and big, woolly slippers.

In my dream last night, I wore bright, shiny red patent ankle-high boots.  I sported them with confidence, regardless of my attire, every Tuesday night, when I would travel to the East end and take up residence in an old hotel converted to condos.  There I would gather with friends around a pool bar and feel warm and accepted.

The dream left me with an tinge a expectancy – despite its nonsensical components.  The East end of our city, like my body, is rundown, in need of repair, although there has been a recent interest in reviving it.  Socializing with friends poolside reminds me of my summers past, and vacations we used to take – things I have had to let go of.  The only commitments I have these days are for therapy sessions or doctors visits, hardly for nighttime adventures.

Could the dream being sending me a message of hope – promising that my life is not quite over, and that this isolation will not last forever?  Is it reassuring me that my efforts to restore health are working, and that the best of me is yet to come – that there is something of value left in the ol’ girl, after all?

I like to think it is.  Furthermore, I am seriously considering the therapeutic value in buying a new pair of red shoes.

My mother could very well be onto something.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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