Friday, 9 October 2009

A Wee Problem

THE SHOES in the shop window made me stop and drool. They were ballerina pink satin with a fake block toe and delicate ribbons to wind up your calf. 
Very Darcey Bussell – and totally ridiculous for rainy, grimy London. ‘They’d be ruined first time out,’ I thought, prising myself away.
But I couldn’t forget the shoes and kept making reasons to go past the shop to see them. ‘They’re so beautiful,’ I muttered, shocking myself. I’m definitely not a shoe kind of girl.
I was brought up as a tomboy in the country where most people thought I was a lad until 38DDs erupted from my chest at 13.
Wellies, trainers and sensible flats have encased my size 7s most of my life.
I’ve dabbled with the odd stiletto and ended up with a sprained ankle every time. I really can’t walk in anything above an inch high.
So these ballet slippers were perfect. Until I dared to go inside and saw the price. ‘Eighty pounds!’ I coughed, blinking.
They were only a bit of satin with some ribbon attached. ‘Outrageous,’ I tutted, shaking my head. I could buy the food shopping with that, or pay the gas bill.
But I had to have them. I’d never felt this way about a pair of shoes before. ‘And I do need a treat,’ I told myself.
I had two children – a six-year-old boy and little girl, 17 months, who kept me frazzled. I’d been ill, lost my job and hadn’t been able to find another one. ‘I deserve cheering up,’ I decided, taking the shoes to the till.
Back home, I unwrapped them from the tissue and stared at them in the box. They were so delicate. So feminine.
Then I looked down at my feet with their bunions, chipped nail varnish and wonky toes. It had been a long time since they’d done a plie or pirouette.
But once I’d slipped on the slippers, I felt like dancing, they were so gorgeous.
‘Wow,’ my little girl, Anais, said over and over again, pointing to my feet. I laughed.
‘Yes wow,’ I repeated and taking her hand, did a twirl.
These shoes were magical, transforming me from a frizzy-haired, clumsy mum into a giggling girl.
‘Let’s take the shoes out for a walk,’ I said. It was a crisp, sunny October day. No hint of rain, nothing to scuff or ruin my new shoes.

Strictly gorgeous

In them I even walked differently – delicate, as if I could appear on Strictly or put leg warmers on to watch Fame.
‘I’m going to live forever,’ I sang, pushing the pram faster.
Then I looked at my watch. Oh no. I had to pick up my son, Deme, from school. And I still hadn’t bought any food for tea. I’d been too preoccupied with my new shoes.
‘We can’t be late,’ I said, sprinting along with the pushchair now. Deme was the last one waiting by the school gate.
‘Sorry sweetie,’ I panted, guilt – and not the shoes - pinching. ‘I’m not late am I?
He looked down at my feet. ‘Nice shoes, Mamma,’ he said. ‘You look like a dancer.’
I grinned. These shoes were ridiculously expensive but really made an impact.
I was in a good mood as we walked to the supermarket. ‘I want to go home and watch Ben 10 Alien Force,’ Deme moaned.
‘It won’t take long,’ I promised. I only had a few things to get. But at least it was a good excuse to show off my new girly shoes.
Deme sulked down the fruit and vegetable aisle, then begged to look at the toys.
‘Just let me get the shopping,’ I said, trying to ignore his pleas and the baby’s singing.
I was trying to decide between spaghetti and macaroni dried pasta when I heard it. ‘Ooow, ooow, oooww, ooooh,’ my son wailed.
I looked up and saw he was bright red and dancing about on the spot. ‘What’s the matter?’ I asked as he jigged and wailed in pain.
‘I need the toilet,’ he said through clenched teeth. ‘Right now.’
I glanced around for the toilet sign, then sprinted down the aisle, past the cakes and burst through the doors into the nearest loo – the disabled one.
There was enough room for all three of us, including the pushchair. ‘Made it,’ I said as Deme struggled with his trouser buttons and zip.
‘Oh noooooo,’ he screamed, desperate now.
‘Let me do it,’ I said, battling to undo his zip as Deme hopped from one foot to the other.
Finally I wrestled it down and turned to give Deme some privacy. Too late.
He needed to go so badly, a fountain of wee arched in the air. In slow motion, I watched it begin its descent, frantically trying to get out of the way.
Before I could move, the wee hit the rim of the toilet and splattered everywhere – raining down on my new shoes.
‘Aaaaah,’ Deme sighed, relieved.
‘Noooooooo,’ I screamed, distraught. I was now standing in a puddle of wee and could see it spreading across the fine pink silk of my shoes.
‘Sorry,’ Deme said, doing up his zip. I couldn’t speak. My shoes were ruined, a large stain already marking each one.
I’d owned them for less than a couple of hours. Now they were only good for the bin. ‘I’m sure they’ll be OK when they dry,’ Deme said, embarrassed.
I kissed the top of his head. ‘It’s not your fault,’ I reassured him. ‘It was an accident.’ I blamed myself. Silly ballet shoes at my age? They were a wee mistake.

Do you think there’s a stain remover for wee? Or do you know another way to save my shoes? Please let me know…  


  1. Oh your poor shoes! And poor Deme! Beautifully written post

  2. Oh no! I felt that one coming....Not sure about the wee satin, if you find a cure let me know, there's loads on our carpets...

  3. I guess petrol might be a good and then iron it :)