Silver Dancing Shoes

My silver dancing shoes, from a long forgotten Parisian trip, are mentioned in the birthday speech. I am in Sweden with my son celebrating a friend’s 40th birthday.P sets the scene taking us down memory lane to Merrion Square, Dublin. It is the dawn of the 90’s and P. from Sweden is staying with the birthday girl B. B is living in a bed-sit, a large room at the back of a Georgian house that has been converted into mostly offices bar a few apartments at the back of the building. It is a sterile place, freshly painted, newly carpeted.

B stands in a yoga pose frying up pancakes on her two ring hob. Furniture consists of a bed. There is no table nor are there chairs. We picnic on the floor. A rug is laid out anchored by a bottle of cheap red wine. I have just entered the room in my silver heels and casting a cursory glance upon the situation declare it, ‘an interesting mess’. The wine is drunk, cigarettes are smoked, pancakes eaten and then we discuss Dostoyevsky’s, The Idiot. You get the picture,  and once the bottle has been emptied away into the night we go.

Back then, B & I loved to go dancing at Lilies Bordello or the Pink Elephant. We’d throw various shapes to pop music, the mirror ball reflecting our youthful arrogance. We were drama students, our sole ambition was to conquer the floor, the club and the night in question. We revelled in our ridiculous motions, as we kept other dancers at bay with random chaotic movements and crazy shapeshifting. We were monsters, animals, robots, we were grotesque and funny, stupid, silly. We were having the time of our lives.

Attracting men was not our goal. We did not shimmy or gyrate to entice – we did not have to. The virtue of youth swung doors and we were plied with drinks and much attention rendering us contemptful of the predictability and weakness of men.

Now we are grown and those silver shoes, a mere scuff on my memory. We wear our life experiences on our faces, our bodies have changed and changed again as we rear families of our own. These days there is hardly any time left for dancing except on special occasions. This is one such and tonight we dance to celebrate B and the conquering of time.

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