These shoes have been worn for the first day today in ten years.
In the last ten years there are many things that I half remember, things I have almost erased from my memory and things that I will never forget.
Things that I half remember:
In January 2000, my husband and I left our jobs, sold our flat in Glasgow and got married in that order.
I remember getting married very well. There were a lot of tears.
I only half remember the date though – there was so much else going on. Unless my mum emails me to remind me I always make the mistake of thinking that we got married on 25 January (Australia Day) when in fact it was the 21 January. Or was it? Our wedding certificate along with our wedding photos is well stashed in a huge cardboard box in the garage. Somewhere beneath another huge cardboard box or two. One of these days I will find them and post one for a laugh.
What I can remember is that we had about a two months to organise the whole thing – the ceilidh band, the catering, the bar, the Registry Office, the dress and the shoes. For once I actually chose the dress before the shoes. I wore a floor length silver grey silk dress covered in thousands of tiny little glass beads.
One of my favourite fairy tales is The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson. The glass beads represented the shards of glass scattered throughout the world contained in one dress. It was virtually impossible to find a pair of shoes to match. After an incredible quest and two other pairs purchased for me by my shop loving dad (See Day 10 of the Shoe Challenge – Wedding Shoe Diaries Part 1 and Day 11 of the Shoe Challenge – Wedding Shoe Diaries Part 2) I found these. Not the most perfect match by any means but I couldn’t find a pair of glass slippers anywhere in Glasgow in January.
I half remember arriving in Sydney at the beginning of March 2000. The preparations for the Olympics were in full swing. I had been sponsored on a temporary 457 work visa to work for a big Sydney law firm. One of the legal secretaries on my floor was rowing for Australia in the Olympics. It was humid and it rained a lot. We felt like we were on holiday. We were coming to Australia, a country that we had never visited before. A country with no relatives and only a handful of people that we knew. Most of them, it would transpire, didn’t want much to do with us when we actually arrived. Perhaps they thought that we would not be staying long. It was all new and strange and exciting.
Things that I have (almost) erased from my memory:
The pain of looking back at my parents as I headed into the departure lounge at Glasgow Airport on a cold grey morning in March 2000 and seeing how still they were, how distant already. I cried non-stop all the way to Heathrow.
Losing my job, my visa and with it our right to stay in Australia when I was 6 months pregnant.
Hearing my husband sobbing and rocking in the middle of the night when he got the call from Scotland to tell him that his father had died. Seeing his face three years ago after his last ever conversation with his mother.
The combined shock, pain and disgusted fascination of miscarrying a baby at three months.
Things that I will never forget:
The look on my husband’s face when he saw each of our children for the first time.
The first time those children smiled at me.
Finding out that my mum’s cancer was gone, possibly for good.
Although there were no glass slippers and we never managed to get a honeymoon in and I can never remember the date we got married it’s been a bit of an adventure the last ten years.
Maybe having pulled all this stuff out with these shoes today, I should just wrap it all up, bung it back in the box and leave it for the Minx to come across afresh in another 10 years. By that time, I may even have found the wedding album.