Friday, October 23, 2020

“The Royal Blue Dance Shoes” by Christina Walton

They’re satin royal blue Latin dance shoes, with a 2¼-inch heel, the perfect and very safe height for my older and aging dance frame.  I’m obsessed with them and ordered them for my daughter’s wedding.  I used to dance and still like my “dancer’s feeling.”  So my daughter’s wedding called for my special dance self, and dance shoes to carry me down the aisle as my husband and I lovingly escorted her to her loving partner.  

My daughter had ordered her own special brand of magical shoes, as she too had been a dancer.  Her magical shoes were purple velvet, her favourite colour and style to show off her beautiful dancer’s tattoo.  A tribute to her love of ballet, her tattoo says, “My heart is at your feet” – it’s a reference to her curtsy at the end of each class to acknowledge the instructor. 

My husband bought new shoes too, so he could embrace this special shoe conversation too.

My heart leapt every time the mail arrived or a package was delivered.  “is it the shoes?!” I’d ask.  Nope, not today.   Each day I’d run to the door … Nope not today.   I tracked my order and to my dismay realized they’d been ordered from England!  I saw the tracking order on my computer and saw that they had in fact been shipped.  The tracking order showed an airplane as the mode of transportation.  Oh my gosh, would they make it across the ocean to my doorstep to be on my feet for October 11th? 

Well, dance shoes had never let me down before in my dancing life, and surely they were magical and knew I needed them for this special day in our family’s life! 

My middle daughter, the practical and organized one, secretly ordered me a backup pair of shoes, just in case mine did not arrive.  The shoes she ordered for me were the perfect shade to match my navy dress, with sparkly adornments.  The heel was stylish and low, and the sheen just poked out from under the long hem.  They were really nice, I had to admit.  And I really did appreciate her thoughtfulness of looking out for me. I respectfully delegated these to the role of understudy in case the royals didn’t arrive on time.

This obsession with wedding shoes was honestly a lovely relief and distraction that helped us to forget stress of the pandemic looming above and around and ahead of us.  Our family were in a beautiful wedding bubble, preparing details like blue shoes and blue dresses, blue bow ties and blue masks to match our elegant blue outfits. 

We printed schedules of the wedding day and for that day – unlike the rest of our pandemic lives – knew exactly what we were looking forward to.  It was a wonderful space to be in.

My shoes arrived on the Thursday before the wedding, quietly in a non-descript envelope, carefully folded together like dance partners. I tried them on: they beautiful and comfortable and looked stunning on  my feet 

But Miss Middle daughter asked me to put on one shoe from each pair, together, with my dress – side by side, she said, to really get a good long look, like an audition. 

Well, the understudy won the wedding job. They really did look better. But the royals go with all of my work clothes, because now I work from home and can wear my dancer’s feeling on my feet, all day long, any time I need to or want to!


Christina Walton lives in Hamilton, where she grew up and danced for    many years.  She works as a family therapist, and she and her husband Stephen, are the parents of three adult children. They recently celebrated the wedding of their eldest daughter.  This is Christina’s first short memoir writing piece.

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