Walking to the station, I took a small detour down a city lane and popped into my favourite shoe shop. And there they were. Silver and Shiny and Totally Outrageous.
I skirted around them for a while and looked at Sensible Shoes. I even tried on a pair of nice brown suedes with a sort of cut-out, lace-up effect down each side.
I’d just had lunch with a writer friend in the bar at Young and Jackson’s. He is writing a Brilliant Memoir and we ate zucchini fritters and talked books and the problems we’re both having with our writing.
For some time, I’ve had a Niggle about my Novel that could mean a huge change to what I’ve already written. Think J M Coetzee who once discarded all but 20,000 of 80,000 words. Think Elizabeth Jolley who once threw away a whole book because ‘it just wasn’t right’.
Killing off your babies doesn’t come close!
After lunch, I walked upstairs to have a look at Chloe for the first time.
Forty years in Melbourne and I’d never seen her hanging there in all her naked glory.
(Too busy buying shoes, you might well be thinking!)
In the shoe shop, the Silver Boots had turned into another kind of Niggle.
I heard things in my head like Mutton Dressed up as Lamb, and Trailer Trash, and I’m sure I had a flash of one of Geoffrey Edelsten’s young women on the red carpet at the Brownlows or pictured in ‘No Idea’ or ‘Woman’s Day’ when I’d been flicking through magazines at the dentist.
I am not embarrassed to admit I have a bit of A Thing about shoes. Imelda is Thy Middle Name and all that.
As much as I don’t believe every single psychoses comes from what our parents did or didn’t do, I can trace my Shoe Thing directly to my lust for a pair of Squash Heels in the sixties.
Now of course, I wonder what all the fuss and lust was about but at the time I babysat for anyone who’d have me at two and sixpence an hour until I’d saved enough to buy a pair. Taupe, I think they were, with a patent brown trim. Nothing like Silver.
Eventually, I stopped skirting around the shoe shop. I chose not to listen to the Edelsten Niggle. I called for The Silver Boots.
It was 39 degrees outside, not really a day for trying on anything, but I slid into those boots as if they were made for me. I have to say they looked amazing.
Maybe a little Trashy. Maybe a little Mutton. Maybe a little Edelsten. But all the Young Things in the shop told me they looked Fabulous and, although they were probably on commission, I had to agree.
Reader, I bought those boots!
I carried them out the door in their swishy black bag. I slung the swishy bag over my shoulder and carried them down Swanston Street.
Passing Young and Jackson’s, I thought of Chloe upstairs in her nakedness and decided, she was probably the sort of woman who’d have worn Silver Boots in her time, if they’d had such a thing.
By the time the train drew into my station, the sky was bruised and black-looking and building up for a big storm. I hurried home, hurried my boots in the door and hurried upstairs to unpack them.
This was always going to be The Moment of Truth. Did I still like them?
Reader, I loved them!
I can’t tell you how many things they Go With. And if I’m in a Timid Mood I can always tell myself they’re not Silver Boots at all, they’re really just a Shiny Grey!
Next morning, the silvery sequinned t-shirt That I Never Wear was suddenly, unexpectedly, winking at me from my t-shirt shelf. I put it on with my trackie bottoms and sat at my computer to Wrestle with The Novel Niggle.
This is me at my computer in my silver shirt. I wonder where will it end?