The Green Shoes
It was always so quiet in the attic. I was going through the old boxes not really organizing, since most of the boxes I just peeked in, and then moved aside.
My Grandparents were downstairs. They always came to see us for the festival.
I wanted to be in the attic today instead of being outside not wearing green. Not that I liked the festival that much. I was going to get pinched if I didn’t have anything green to put on. Whenever I went shopping, I always chose other colors like rose or yellow. I didn’t have any green clothes in my closet. I didn’t know why we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day?
Mom said I was Irish. I didn’t know for sure, but my curly red hair came all the way down to my waste. I liked to brush part of it in front. To bad the color red wasn’t enough for today.
I was always curious about old boxes, and what I would find in them. There was a small box stacked in between two big ones. I scooted the big one off. The small one was a bright yellow color. I picked it up. The box was hard. It looked really old and felt like wood. It was light.
It had the letters Brogue on the front of it. I carefully opened it.
It was shoes.
Green shoes! They were dark, but shiny like crystal dark green. The inside was a light green and soft, but the outside of them was hard. Hard shoes with black souls. I ran my fingers along the bottom and I could see the black heel. They reminded me of tap-dancing shoes.
There was a strap on the front of them like a buckle with a lot of laces. The old box was a really bad pick to put them in. The shoes were new. I put them together and held them up. The green was beautiful and stood out, and flashy. I started to think about what they looked like on. I put them next to the bottom of my shoe. The size fit mine.
I took my shoes off and put the green ones on.
They fit me perfectly, like a glove.
I smiled. I knew what green I would be wearing.
I came downstairs with the shoes on my feet, they didn’t have the snugness of new shoes. It felt like I had always worn them and they were green. They felt like the perfect shoes.
I heard my Mom call from the kitchen.
“Are you coming outside today?” She asked.
“Sure… I’m not hiding.”
She gave me a funny look.
“They’re coming back soon.” She said.
“Where did they go?” I asked realizing why it had been so quiet.
“Just picking up the photos?”
I rolled my eyes. They were still talking about Julia’s school pics. It was hard to imagine prom was two years away for me.
“Do you want to take a stroll? See if they have any of those green lollipops!”
I wanted to just say no, but it was not like I wasn’t wearing green anymore. I wasn’t going to get pinched!
Mom didn’t notice I changed my shoes. We didn’t have green candy, so I started my small walk to the little store.
It was a whole fair. There was Irish dancing. By the store there was a crowd passing around a green drink in a big glass mug. There were two people dressed in green at a stand giving them out. I wanted one, but didn’t bring extra dollars. I started to walk back. I only bought some green gum. I felt like skipping there was so much singing. There was one group of people standing around these two men. I could hear Irish music. I walked over and peered at them curiously.
One of them was showing the crowd how to dance to the music. One of them had a flute with a live band behind them. He was showing two people the steps. Then the music would play. Everyone was laughing, his voice sounded so Irish.
“How about you?” He pointed at me.
“I don’t know if I’m Irish?” I said.
“Everyone can be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!”
I didn’t know how to dance, and I couldn’t even imagine how to do those jumps and tapping. It looked really hard to do, to that jumpy music. It sounded thrilling.
“Oh Common. We’ll show you the steps, it’s easy.”
I walked forward.
I didn’t talk, just stared at him.
He was laughing and grinning at me. He started to instruct a step. I didn’t move my feet, just watched him.
The music started. It sounded like bag pipes. He did the steps like jumping. I listened to the music, and suddenly felt like I could just dance. My feet moved to the music. I didn’t think about the steps and just started dancing. He began to instruct me, then he just stopped and danced as well. I never thought moving to the music could be so easy. I tapped my feet against the ground. The shoes made a tapping
sound that matched the music. I tapped and raised my legs up in beat with the song. I turned to the side and smiled at him. He laughed along side me, and we were in synchrony. The music went faster and so did I. I could feel my feet on fire with the Irish beat. When it stopped the whole crowd clapped.
“That was quite well done.” He clapped. “How did you do it?”
I looked down shyly, I was never able to dance a day in my life. My shoes shined in spite of their green color.
He grinned at my shoes.
Then he smiled and nodded.
“You’ve been taking classes.”
“Luck of the Irish.” I said.
“She fooled you says I.” His friend said.
I shyly left the parade. I told him I would come back later with my family. He asked me to dance again.
I walked through the crowd listening to the Irish songs. One band played traditional Celtic without singing. The whole way home my feet wanted to be on fire with the music I heard. I needed to get back but I did skip. That dance was one of the funnest things I had ever done.
Everywhere there was green, except for me. I remembered and looked down. My shoes were green of course! I walked back around the corner. It would be time to eat the green food soon.
Everyone was talking upstairs. I came into the dining room. Mom had put out the Shamrock table matts. I wandered away into the living room. Grandma was alone sitting in the rocking chair. I came in quietly, it looked like she was reading something.
Grandma looked up.
“You’re wearing my shoes.”
I looked down. I didn’t know they were hers.
Then her eyebrows furrowed.
“I was not much older than you, the first time I… wore them.” She smiled.
“Grandma the shoes were in a box.” I said.
“They must have been stored away when I packed my things …. years ago.”
“There so beautiful!”
“They were always my favorite shoes, especially for dancing.” She said wistfully.
“Where did you get them?”
They looked so new, and Grandma said she was almost my age when she had them.
“A long time ago in Ireland.”
My mouth fell open. It was true we were Irish!
“I was walking home one day thinking of my sorrow. I was still heart stricken, …I had tried to dance our town dance, and could not do the steps.”
I sat down to listen. Grandma had lived in Ireland?
“I was taking the path when I heard rustling in the bushes ahead of me. At first, I thought it a poor little animal trapped in the foliage. Then I realized what I was looking at.”
“I came across an elf. He had a pointy hat and ears that were unnatural. There was a net on him. He struggled trying to free himself from a web of rope and the tangled vines of the clover plant. The rope was taught and would not bend. I didn’t know what to do! but I hated to see him trapped. I pulled the ends off of him. Some were tied so firmly I could not loosen the knots. With my pocket knife I cut the edges, then pulled at them with my teeth.”
“The net came loose at last, and in a blink he was free.”
“He stood there, much smaller than me. He could pull gold coins out of his pocket. He was wearing a gold suit with black shoes. His waistcoat was the same color green as the bush he had just struggled through. The same color as his hat.”
“I was frightened of him at first. Then he said, since I had found him and helped him out of his binds, he would grant me any wish.”
I listened without saying a word. What was Grandma telling me?
“He thought I would ask for a pot of gold. There was something my heart wanted. I wished to be able to dance any dance I tried to. Upon the wish he plucked green shoes from a Clover’s leaf. He handed me that pair of shoes, and swore that I would be able to dance whatever I wished if I was wearing them. After I took them, he disappeared. I cradled them to myself all the way home. Much better than a pot of gold thought I.”
My eyes bugged out. Had it worked? I knew how I had danced at the festival, how my jumps were so high, but my feet weren’t tired at all.
“…and then I danced the Hornpipe, that was when I met your Grandfather.” She smiled like remembering something far away.
“Did you?” I felt like asking so many questions. “Did you use them… a whole lot?”
“Yes, I used them many times. It was quite thrilling dancing them Irish steps to those lyrics.”
She laughed at the memory.
I looked down at the shoes. The green almost glowed.
“I met an elf Tina. He handed me the shoes he had plucked from a clover.”
“Are you telling those crazy stories again Mom? Let’s have some lunch.”
My mom said, and everybody was going into the dining room.
“I brought some green cookies, and I made clover salad.” She said.
As I was walking, I looked down at my shoes. I was wearing magic. They were green magic shoes.
Late that night I carried them upstairs in my pajamas, everyone was already asleep. I Crept upstairs into the attic and quietly placed them in the box I had found them in. I looked one more time at the Emerald green. I smiled and closed the box. Maybe some day I would wear them again? I had put them on for St. Patrick’s Day, and danced in them. I tiptoed back to bed.
I closed my eyes still seeing them in my head. The green magic shoes.
© 2020 Deborah Minter