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Toe Shoes

pointe.jpg"Don't cut on the diagonal!" the nail lady reprimanded me of my toes. "See!" she pointed at the third toe on my right foot. "Who cut that!?"

"I don't..." I started, but decided not to even try.

"You cut on diagonal, they cut in you!" she told me.

I nodded, because I understand the whole ingrown-toenail potential with diagonally-cut nails.

But even though it has been two decades since I performed, I have dancer's feet, and my toenails do grow diagonally. I laugh and call my wide feet "hobbit feet" but of course they had to squish into pointe shoes back in the day.

I've told the Reebok story a hundred times, haven't I? The "popular" sleek Reeboks were two narrow for my wide feet. I had real Reeboks, but they were made for wide feet, so appeared like those shoes that nurses wear when they'll be on the floor all night long. People didn't believe me that they were real. (Thank goodness my Guess jeans were authentic and people believed it, although I had a red and white Benetton striped shirt, not the blue and white one most people had.)

I had a similar situation with pointe shoes. Getting pointe shoes is a huge milestone in a dancer's life. I dreamt of going en pointe since I was small, and I was thrilled when a classmate brought some toe shoes to school one day. We tried them on at recess. I seem to remember once locking myself in a dressing room to try on an older dancer's shoes once, too.

As troupe-mates went en pointe, I'd ask my teacher if I was yet ready. She'd look at my feet - and my toes wouldn't yet line up the way they'd like. "Soon, soon" she'd tell me.

And then finally, she told me to go ahead.

But the dance shop had a heck of a time trying to fit my feet. After trying on a variety of toe shoes: pale pink, candy pink, nearly white, I got some wide peach ones that smelled beautiful. (Yes, shoes I actually loved to smell!)

Those shoes meant so much to me. It was magical to dance on them. Sure, it was initially a challenge, but I was up to it.

Years later, I found the shoes, and of course couldn't get up all the way on my toes. I remembered how there was an adult in my "beginning pointe" class and laughed, because that's something I might consider doing if I didn't remember that adult was so not cool for trying to dance with us!

But it doesn't matter that I can't dance on my toes anymore; I've still got the moves in other ways, and I've got my snazzy diagonal nails as evidence of my earlier hobby.

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