My Magical Rainbow Shoes
Maria Arawarien (+Video)
This story is about a pair of magical rainbow shoes that marks a milestone on two levels. First, it ignites Maria’s interest in how shoes can make a fashion statement. Second, it marks her transition into adulthood. Her shoes assume their “magical status” from her sentimental attachment to them. They are imbued with the spirit of her mother. Understandably, it is this pair of shoes that she wears during her journey to Canada.
As I walked into the house, I heard a strikingly familiar voice calling “Mute! Mute!” I had gone for morning service at the Catholic church down the road from my house that morning. Since none of us was expecting Mom to be back so soon from her holiday to Italy, it took me a while before I could put it all together. She was the only one who called me Mute, my native name.
When I saw my mom, I was filled with so much joy. I hugged her tightly as she handed me a gift. Oh! It was love at first sight. I opened the beautiful box and saw my magical rainbow shoes. As I tried them on, I felt like Cinderella. They felt soft, warm, comfortable, and well-fitted. Most of all, the shoes had all the colours of the rainbow—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Knowing my love for fashion and colours, my mom had bought me these beautiful rainbow shoes.
These shoes were indeed magical. Apart from matching most of the outfits in my wardrobe, they made me feel confident, powerful, amazing, happy, and successful—all the good qualities my mom inspired in me. Incidentally, the gift of my magical rainbow shoes coincided with the time I was planning my first trip from my country Nigeria to London.
When I put them on, they made me feel grown up, beautiful, and loved. I felt they represented the beginning of my adult journey through life. In spite of the discomfort of breaking in new shoes, I wore them to practically every outing on that London trip. The compliments I got were positive and very uplifting.
When I got back to Nigeria, they became my go-to pair of shoes and they never disappointed. I bought similar-looking shoes with the hope of giving my magical rainbow shoes a break, but the outcome has not been the same. It probably had something to do with the loving thoughts behind the gesture, celebrating the bond between my mom and me.
Over time, I have come to set great store by my magical rainbow shoes. Now I only wear them for special occasions where I need to make an entrance, create a positive impression, attract favour, and command attention.
I have come to think of these shoes as being truly magical. The night before my last job interview in Nigeria, I had picked a different, more subdued, pair of shoes that I thought was more appropriate. At the last minute, I picked my magical rainbow shoes. My performance at the interview—in my personal evaluation—was, at best, average. Nevertheless, I got the job and a 25% increase in my salary. I think it was the shoes that brought me luck.
Unfortunately, I lost my beloved mom—my best friend—unexpectedly on July 26, 2020. Since then, my magical rainbow shoes have become a symbol of all my mother’s good wishes and her faith in me as I continue my journey through life.
Understandably, I was wearing this pair of magical rainbow shoes from my mom when I came to Canada. And while my sojourn to date has been fraught with the occasional discomfort of “breaking in” to the new Canadian culture, I am confident I will be fine, because I have these magical rainbow shoes that encapsulate my mother’s love, good wishes, and faith in me.
Maria Arawarien is from Nigeria. She also spent part her my life in Botswana. She has a bachelor’s degree in geography and regional planning and has worked in accounting and public relations. She came to Canada in 2022 with her two children. Maria loves her sojourn here so far and is looking forward to the next chapter of her life.