The Shoe Note

Z Vally

The Shoe Note

(Short Story)

By Z Vally

Chapter 1 - The Shoe Repair Shop

The upmarket arcade had this aura of elegance and beauty floating in the air with gold lamp lightings and cream marble flooring. Small sized glass paneled shops lined the arcade, aimed for the high society of Besquille.

The shoemaker, Al, a stoic middle aged man was hammering nails into shoes. People were attached to their shoes which kept his shoe repair business rolling. He had an assistant, Chantelle, his daughter, dealing with the customers. She was around twenty eight years’ old, ginger, curly hair, average height and looks, with a trademark radiant smile and a bubbly personality. She wore a light brown apron and a matching handkerchief scarf on her head. Customers loved talking to her and she indulged in serving them.

She was engaged to Angelo. The thirty three year old worked in the artwork shop, in the same arcade. It was common to see him popping in at the cobbler’s during his break times and at times playfully tying her scarf. They had lunch together at a nearby family run restaurant, ‘Great Wonders’ where they met and got engaged too. The restaurant was family run and had created a cordial and relaxed environment and they quickly became acquainted with their customers who were mainly regulars.

Angelo had asked Al, Chantelle’s father for her hand in marriage and he delightfully agreed. Angelo later reserved a table and it was well set with a special touch. A waiter had brought the engagement ring box on a tray, “dancing” in a garden of the dainty rose petals showered on the tray. Restaurant staff clapped after Chantelle tearfully accepted the proposal. On occasional evenings they headed for social dancing or theatres. Besquille had no shortage of it. Romance was steady and blossoming. Al was pleased as Punch, looking forward to the day when he would walk his daughter down the aisle. But, all this was about to change.

A casual dressed man in his early forties walked in one day with a shoe mending job. The shoe heel of a brand name had become loose. Chantelle was the first point of contact. They got chatting away as part of a highly paid customer services and he told her of his trips to Montesarana and what it was like.

Montesarana was a wealthy island with yachts, casinos, expensive shops and hotels, and minted society. Chantelle collected the shoe and wrote down his name and phone number in a book as part of her administrative work. Jacques left with his receipt for collection in a few weeks’ time.

Jacques’ shoe was mended and placed together with the rest of repaired shoes. They were positioned neatly on the Oakwood shelf, packaged ready for collection.

Few days later, Jacques came to collect his shoe and left, admiring Chantelle’s blazing smile. All was normal; nothing was unusual.

But a couple of days later Jacques came back. This time with another brand name shoe, for repair; the front sole of the black shoe was “laughing”. It was an excuse to see Chantelle. Her father, Al recognized him from his workshop corner and spread his wings to see what was going on. The administrative process flowed as usual but more in silence, in the presence of the father’s Blue Jay bird’s eyes; highly protective of his nest. Jacques left with his receipt for collection, scurrying off from Al, that shielding physique. It was very business-like this time.

However, he managed something non-business like though. He had concealed a wooing note inside the shoe! And, O’ dear, Al, the father carted off that shoe to his cobbler’s bench. At the same time, Chantelle realised that she had not completed the clerical formalities, went and fetched the shoe back to her customer service counter. She inspected the shoe, to see if any other labour was needed, looking around the inside of the shoe, and …… yes, the note tumbled out like a parachute and landed at her feet. She picked it up to read it and was giggling at the flirting message, when her father bobbed up by her side.

Oh my goodness, what to do? Chantelle went into a panic mode. But help came like lightning …… the phone rang and Al went to answer it. Chantelle heaved a sigh of relief. She quickly dumped the note into her apron pocket and continued her task. Phew, what an escape she had! The tempting flirtatious invite read: “How about dinner at Santa Reno? You have the phone number. Phone me, please.”

Santa Reno was a hotel in Besquille for the exclusive high society.


Chapter 2 - The Date at Santa Reno.

Some days went by and she forgot about the clarion call from Jacques. During her break on one of these days, she visited Angelo’s creative artwork place, and something happened in the shop to bring Jacques’ invitation back to her attention. The creative art gallery had tight security with cameras and security guard on site as it had some valued paintings. Some murals looked real; you could feel the arthritis in the hands of the artists due to its precision to make it look real.

Angelo was busy with a male customer and so Chantelle took a stroll around the parlour. A glitzy magazine in the mini sitting area attracted her curiosity like Einstein’s wonder for gravity and electrons. She glanced through it …… and in it were pictures of the opulent Santa Reno hotel. Her eyes sparkled at the beauty and its marvel of the architecture. She was hooked.

She pulled out the note which was still in her apron pocket to read the name of the hotel and it matched. At that precise moment, Angelo joined her ……and she hastily crumpled the note in her hand and dropped it into her apron. Another split second rescue quest was accomplished! They had a quick chat and a female customer walked in and he left to attend to her. Chantelle exited too and went back to her work.

Chantelle had just missed Jacques. During her absence, Jacques had returned to collect his shoe from her father, and he dare ask him of Chantelle’s whereabouts. And, Al did not mention Jacques to Chantelle either.

On her return, she mused over Jacques’ invitation and looked at the note again and was hesitant to search for his phone number from the records. But, in the end she did and placed it on her cell phone. An insatiable hunger for the palatial lifestyle was building up in her. She had also observed from the records that Jacques had collected his shoe. She said nothing to her father. She did not want to arouse any suspicion.

She decided to talk to Angelo first.

On the way home, Chantelletold Angelo of her “business date” with Jacques. Angelo was aroused with jealousy. After a short silence, he inquired with a set of questions - when was it? To which she did not have knowledge of it yet. Where was it if she had an insight of it? This she did. And, how old was he? She gave him the answers. In Chantelle’s mind, she only wanted to taste the flavour of the deluxe society; she had no interest in Jacques. She wanted the honey but not the bee. But, she had not unearthed yet that once you find the honey sweet, you want more drips of it.

They walked in mute silence, hand in hand, until a car horn blasted at them and the driver flung his arms in the air, leaned his head out and spewed a few words at them. They had blindly walked into the street to cross it. The car had braked abruptly and both sprinted across the road with heart pounding. This at least broke the stillness and stirred up the conversation again with their usual chit-chat until Angelo left Chantelle at her doorstep with a light kiss on her cheek.

Next day, Chantelletexted Jacques that she would consider his offer and the date and time were set for the following evening. She informed Angelo of it but not her conservative father. She took the date lightly as a business meeting with a client. There was no excitement surrounding it. But, unknown to her a predatory “ghost” was prowling in the background; the furnace was burning with consuming, red glowing coal.

The following day when she got home after work to get ready for the rendezvous, there was a knock on the door. It was a delivery man with a parcel box.

“Oh, this must be from Angelo,” she thought gleefully.

No, it was not. She was stunned when she read the card attached to it. It was from Jacques. It was an evening wear; an elegant black velvet dress, matching exquisite jewelleryand a black glossy clutch bag with rhinestones edged onto the front flap and matching black sparkling high heeled shoes; one would need deep spending pockets for all this and Jacques was out to entice her with this.

“Wow!” she gasped in amazement and mulled over it for a while.

She marvelled at the dress as she held it in her hands. She noticed something …… a shoe had a piece of paper for the cobbler’s daughter. She chuckled at it as it was a picture of a young lady dancing freely. She got the hint what was coming and mentally prepared for it. She tried the shoes and it fitted well and she twirled in it with the dress in her hands. She was overjoyed.

She got ready and she was turned from a bootstrap girl into an elegant looking Akhal-Teke golden horse. She looked sumptuous in that attire with her ginger hair standing out and her radiant smile giving an extra touch. Jacques arrived in a black suit tie and he commented on how exquisite she looked. He treated her like a special lady; opening the door for her, and they drove off in a flashing sports car, to the hotel restaurant. A table had been reserved at Santa Reno for them.

Inside Santa Reno, Chantelle gazed at the opulent decor around her; gilded ceilings, chandeliers dripping with crystals, austere marble flooring, golden grade cutlery, and a grand restaurant service packaged with it.

Chantelle became nervous at table manners and even dropped her fork which was quickly replaced by a waiting staff. Champagne and food flowed so did the conversation. The restaurant had a delightful ambience. She got the hang of it and began to relax. She revealed of her engagement to Angelo and Jacques listened casually to it. Dance floor opened up and they had a swirling time with the dance moves and a time to get closer with a ballroom dance. They both enjoyed it thoroughly.

In the meantime, across the street were telescopic prying eyes in a company van, gazing out for them. It was Angelo. Yes, jealousy had creeped up on him. As a cover up, he had a tweed man’s cap on, fake black eye glasses and a moustache. His parked van did not raise suspicion as it looked like a normal delivery van for the hotel. He sat there ice cold, feasting his eyes on the entrance. Then …… he saw a flow of people exiting the building. It was late as it was closing time for the restaurant. But, Jacques and Chantelle were nowhere in the crowd. His blood began to boil and sitting on the edge, he began to scan for them.

“Did they decide to stay over at the hotel?” he wondered.

Next …… there they were, leaving the building. He noted they were not holding hands and he began to calm down, like an eye of a surging hurricane storm.

Jacques dropped her at her doorstep with a peck on the cheek. Angelo van was not far away. He was spying on these two again, agitated by an envious “green-eyed monster.”

Next day, while having lunch together, Angelo questioned her about her “business date” and how it went. She enthusiastically told him of the evening attire sent to her, and the great time she had with dancing. Of course he did not reveal to her of his touchy surveillance in facial masking. Then came what Angelo did not want to hear. She was going to see Jacques again. He had invited her out again for another ritzy date.

Angelo sarcastically retorted, “What will this meeting be for this time?”

He continued, “Will it be to train him to be a shoemaker?”

He received no answer from Chantelle. They had their lunch in hushed silence, listening to music playing in the background, and Angelo left early.

This pattern continued for sometime. She would see Angelo on some days, and every now and again she would escape from her routine to see Jacques. She had embarked on a love-triangle.


Chapter 3 - Departing to Montesarana

Work went as normal at the shoe repair shop. No hint of suspicion was dropped. Her father was still unaware of his daughter’s love triangular adventure and hunger for an A-list experience. Angelo loved her and he tried to please her but he could not give her the lap of luxury that Jacques was dishing out. There were continuous arguments flaring across the restaurant table or not seeing each other for some days. They would make up and separate again. Chantelle was torn between her love for Angelo and à life of affluence.

Then rolled in the fury thunderbolt.

Jacques invited Chantelleto Montesaranawhich was another part of the world, to stay at his yacht for a few weeks. Yachts were a norm on this island, a symbol of status. And, Jacques did not have to put in any effort to convince her to join him. She agreed instantly as she had become addicted to the pizzazz pill; a simple apron girl had transformed into a hedonist.

Her concern now was informing her father and to take time off from work. And, she now realised that the engagement was buzzing in a zig-zag line.

She told Jacques of her intention to go away with Jacques to Montesarana.

“Well, we have to say goodbye to a union for now,” he said in a sombre voice with an underlying angry tone. And, walked away from the engagement, heart broken. He was clearly besotted with her, drowning in an ocean of love.

Chantelle asked her father for some weeks off as her annual holiday and this is when the truth came out. It was Epiphany moment for Al, her father. He was very disheartened to hear that the engagement was off. He had eagerly waited to walk his daughter down the aisle.


Chantelle and Jacques departed by plane to Montesarana. She had taken off her engagement ring and placed it securely in a box in her handbag.

Montesarana was a small island with a coastline of sandy beaches and warm blue waters, with the mainland not far off which made it easy for quick getaways by a speed boat. This wealthy island was zone-proofed for the super-rich jet set; a location of yachts, casinos, ritzy night life, ultra-expensive cars, high rise hotels and apartments encased in tinted bulletproof glass, and enticing shops for those who had deep buying pockets. This was where Chantelle was fluttering to in anticipation.

The weeks went by, engulfed in socialistic jamborees at night, dining out in swanky restaurants by the sea, champagne while listening to the far-off rhythmical sounds of waves, and during daytime being stroked by the sun on the yacht deck. To take care of them was a chef and two more crews. They carried out the interior duties on the cruiser where they were living.

All was going well for both Jacques and Chantelle. Chantelle was sailing high on the waves of Montesaranathat when Jacques asked her to stay on after her annual holidays were over, it did not take long for her to phone her father to inform him that she was not coming back soon. He was devastated about it but he had to let go off her.

In the meantime the cobbler hired a temp, Elisa, a twenty five year old, to serve the clients. She and Angelo went out together a couple of times but love did not blossom. They remained as friends. Elisa was a hyperactive, talkative girl who had a lot of cheerful stories for their overall conservative customers. But …… they could not avoid gobbling up the “laughter” pill. And, they kept coming for more. Business thrived.


Three years passed by.

For Chantelle in Montesarana, it was a pursuit of lavish and glamorous lifestyle of evening gowns, swimming at the sandy beach, at night watch the moon twirl on the incoming surf, sailing out on the yacht, trips by plane or boat across to the mainland, and occasional trips back to Besquille to see that all was well with family and their homes. There was no sight of Angelo during these trips and when she inquired of him, she did not get much insight back. So, she did not pursue it.

Chantelle was more of Jacques companion Chihuahua than a romantic flamingo. Chantelle was not over the moon about Jacques either. She was enjoying the exhilarating experience of it though, shuddering at the thought of it all ending one day.

Jacques had an office on his super yacht and he was occupied with his property development company as well as seeing “business clients”; in other words, he was seeing other women secretly.

Chantelle would spend her time taking a stroll down the noisy street from the ultra-sport revving engines to à pub where she had befriended the barmaid, Bianca. She would chat with her at the bar over an alcoholic drink, not knowing that Bianca was seeing Jacques occasionally when it suited his timetable. The barmaid was out to get her share too from Casanova Jacques. She knew that Chantellewas acquainted with Jacques as he had mentioned Chantelle to her, and referred her as his companion.

The tables were turning onto Chantelle now; what she did to Angelo was getting thrown back to her now. She accepted the business clientele arrangement from Jacques, with reluctance and downcast as he used this as a convenient excuse for a dalliance with his girlfriends. And, Jacques escapades would be over-shadowed by showering Chantelle with fineries of life.


Chapter 4 - Robbery

Jacques timetable had become free for Bianca on her day off. He invited her to view a secluded property he intended to buy. He had seen an advertisement in a hotel magazine and the house looked plush but it was far from where their yacht was. It was at the other end of the island. He made arrangements to see the premises and picked Bianca up from her home. They took a taxi to make it easy to find the place and they travelled to their destination in the afternoon.

Three men in trimmed black suits were already waiting for them outside the modest walled villa in a quiet, reserved location with a private road. One man was in a range rover. This was strange. Was the range rover a taxi?

Jacques asked their taxi driver to wait to take them back. Both walked towards the villas. There were handshakes and smiles, and then one paced up to the taxi and Jacques saw the driver leaving with fear on his face. He rushed to stop him but he sped off.

“What was going on?” he thought.

He and Biancabecame frightened. They were in a remote location.

Next …… guns came out and both dare to struggle. Their faces went ashen white as a sheet. They were gagged, hands tied and bungled up in the range rover and pushed to sit on the floor in the back seat. Their demand was money, valuable items or both and their aim was to take both to Jacques home as they were aware that most on the island had hidden safes where valuables were kept.

As they got nearer to their seaside town where people minded their own businesses inside their gilded building apartments, Jacques and Bianca were pulled up onto the back seat. The gags were removed and their hands untied, so Jacques could show them where his home was. He and the barmaid were warned that any wrong moves would be met by being shot dead. And, they meant it.

It was late in the afternoon and Jacques thought, “staff at the yacht are not going to be present; either gone for the day or taking a break.”

But, Chantelle was at home. She was waiting for Jacques.

Then, Jacques phone rang. It was Chantelle. Under watchful eyes, he told Chantelle that he was on his way home.

“Who are you with?” she enquired as she heard some rustling sounds. One of the thugs placed a finger on his mouth, a gesture to hush him.

“Business clients,” he replied hastily. “See you later.”

When Jacques showed them his place of abode, one enviously said, “Well, well. This is something.”

They led them to the yacht and warned them again of the consequences of them trying to run away or alert anyone.


Chantelle had settled down to watch television; the room was filled with the scent of burning oil, getting ready for Jacques. She was eating a coconut delicacy, Montesarana’s specialty which was a tantalising coconut blend in a native coconut shell, when she suddenly heard the door open. And, in staggered Jacques and Bianca, her friend from the bar, shoved by three men. What an alarming shock for Chantelle who choked and froze, gaping at what she was witnessing. The coconut shell fell from her hands, spluttering the mixture onto the floor. Then, she glimpsed a gun pointing at her. These were men who were on a serious mission to rob or kill.

One robber demanded, “Money. Money, where is the safe?” and he continued, “I will shoot, shoot,” he raved. His words and tone sent a chill down the onlookers’ spine. They meant business.

Jacques hastily instructed Chantelleto take the man to the safe while he and Bianca were held hostage in the saloon. Trembling and swallowing the food, she led him to the safe which was below in the cabin. With trepidation, Chantelle searched for the key in Jacques’ wardrobe and with shaking hands opened the lock safe. He stood there pointing the gun while Chantellescooped out the bundles of money notes into a business looking bag. Her heart was pounding fast. The gunman’s face gleamed with delight as bundles of cash Dheltun notes were dropped into the bag.

This was a heart-wrenching sum of money to lose and thankfully some were banked few weeks ago. Another big concern was jewellery. And, to distract the raider’s attention from the jewellery, Chantelle purposely dropped a bundle of money. Fortunately he went to pick it up and she quickly pushed the engagement ring box to the back of the safe into a dark spot. This was the ring given to her by Angelo. She tried to do the same with the bling box Jacques had sent her for their first date, but the thief commanded that she dropped that too in the bag, smiling sarcastically. He was well pleased with the loot like a dog getting a bone.

When complete, he thumped the gun into her back and forced her to go up to the saloon, like a soldier ushering his enemy. In the meantime, Jacques and Bianca were forced to watch television which had been left on by Chantelle, while the robbers helped themselves to the champagne, gawking at them to make sure they did not trigger an alarm. One thief served and one watched.

With the loot in their hands, the three robbers gave a fulfilling, gratifying nod to each other and sniggered.

“Let’s go, quick” one said, and made a speedy getaway as if they had seen an angry grizzly bear. But there were other “grizzly bears” outside …… men in uniform.

As they were on the platform to leave the yacht to jump into a waiting car, a group of patrolling policemen marshalled them. They were like agile sheepdogs rounding up the chaotic sheep, as the thieves became flustered and tried to run in different directions. And, the one in the waiting car was apprehended first as he tried to drive off in the range rover.

What happened was that one of the crew had heard the commotion when Chantelle was being shouted at on the stairway to force her to move upwards quickly. She was trembling and therefore was slow to follow the thug’s commands. The crew emerged from his cabin and saw the heist in action. He motionlessly backed away and called the police. The game was up.

Police approached shattered Jacques to give him the good news but now he would have to explain to them where he got the money from. Another dilemma for him now.

Chantelle was numbed. Speechless. She had no words to say to Bianca and gave one seething inferno look in her direction and Bianca dared to look back. She eventually left by taxi.

Chantelle needed answers from Jacques but was in no mood to do so right now. Next day, she did ask and he told her the truth that he had invited Bianca to view the property. He could not escape this time by weaving a web of lies. Then, she asked the crucial question if he was seeing her to which he gave no answer and walked away.

Chantelle right then knew that she could not carry on. The relationship as it was, had no connective roots but it was glazed up with a jet set lifestyle. The following day, she told Jacques that she was leaving and going back to Besquille. He did not resist her to stay as it was pointless, and after all a replacement was in waiting. A week later, Chantellereturned to her apartment in Besquille with her personal belongings. This included her memorable engagement ring.


Chapter 5 - The Auction

There was no vacancy in her father’s shoe repair shop. Elisa was working in her position and has been doing so since she left three years ago for Montesarana with Jacques. She was the same girl Angelo had dated after Chantelle left. They were still friends. Elisa was dating Chantelle’s brother now.

Chantelle had to earn money. She took out the engagement ring and reflected on it, wondering what had happened to Angelo? Where was he?

Angelo had moved on. He now owned his own upscale art gallery, away from the arcade. And, he still lunched at the ‘Great Wonders’ restaurant every now and again, and furthermore he was still a bachelor.

Chantelle had a sudden idea - Auction. It was Christmas time now. Snow and jingle bell songs chiming from the shops and television sets. She headed for the auction house and listed the ring. A good time for bling sales. The auction house was lit up with tinsels and Christmas magical decorations, with Christmas music playing in the background. Christmas mood was in the room and this would certainly entice anyone to spend money.

On the day of the auction, precious items were displayed in a glass casing. Security was tight. Chantellewas in her Christmas jumper and red scarf. She took her seat. It had snowed the previous day.

In walked a well-groomed gentleman in a black suit with a dark red tie, walking stealthily around the auction room. He went straight to view the auction items and he noticed one item …… the ring. This was the same ring Angelo had given to Chantelle. And ……he was Angelo himself. He looked around and spotted Chantelle in her festive clothing. He froze for a while but overcame it. He went and registered as a bidder, picked his bidder number on a large print paper, and collected his catalogue.

Eager buyers and curious onlookers, some in Christmas outfits, were taking up their seats. Angelo took his seat some rows behind Chantelle. However, she was glued to her cell phone and the auction catalogue. She was blissfully unaware that Angelo was sitting some rows behind her.

The bidding started with the melodious “auction chanting”. The auctioneer was dressed as Father Christmas. Item after item were being sold. Then came the time for the engagement ring; a diamond perched invitingly on a 18 carat gold band, deeply longing to feel the flesh of a human finger, once again. It had a reserve price of five hundred in its currency, Tirrallas.

The diamond ring dazzled in the hand of the auctioneer as he described it seductively as a Christmas gift for a beloved and started off a bid above the asking price. Buyers swooped down with their bidding amounts. The price went scaling up as two buyers began to compete for it. Angelo watched with eagle eyes. The price went up to a thousand and a half, and the auctioneer’s middle aged voice recited, “Selling at thousand and a half.” He looked around, with the gavel in the air and chorused out again, “Selling twice, selling …” and just before the gavel hit the ‘sound block’ placed on the lectern, Angelo’s hand came up with a lightning speed. He showed his bidder number and spoke in his loud rough voice, “three thousand!”

Pin-drop silence fell in the room. Chantelle immediately recognised that voice and spurned around and spotted Angelo. She went cold. Their eyes met for a fleeting second and in a confused state of mind, she turned round to hear from the auctioneer the final amount. The other two buyers shook their heads and backed off. The tug-of-war contest came to an end.

“Selling at three thousands now,” the auctioneer serenaded, with his gavel in the air, “Selling ……” scanning around to see if there were any higher bids. None came forward and he continued, “Last time, selling now.” The gavel struck down with a thump and the engagement ring went back into Angelo’s possession.

The “thump” reminded her of her ordeal at the hands of the robber’s gun in her back and how she had hid this engagement ring. She was filled with great awe at the thought that she would not had been at this auction without her quick thinking to hide it.

Chantelle turned round to give Angelo her heart warming smile but she was met with a straight, stoned faced, glacier stare. With a Titanic sinking feeling, she retreated back to face the auctioneer. With arealisation at the hurt she had caused, she deeply regretted it.

Angelo did not hang around. He paid for the treasured ring and placed it safely in his inside jacket pocket. And, bolted for the outside brisk fresh air, leaving a snow trail of crunching footprints to his sleek dark blue sports car.


Chapter 6 - Reunion

Some days passed by and Chantelle decided to go to the ‘Great Wonders’ restaurant. It was lunch time. Christmas festive was in full swing. Staff joyously welcomed her; she felt at home. They were dressed as elves and Christmas maids. She helped herself to a buffet with Christmas specialties on offer, paid for it and looked around for a suitable spot to sit in. She did not head for the usual seating area where she had regular rendezvous with Angelo. Instead she chose the comfy two-seater sofa settee at the entrance so she could watch television.

She just finished her lunch and out of blue, the word “Montesarana” boomed out of the television screen. It was a television documentary on it. What a timing! She felt nothing. She contemplated on it that she had a fling at it, tasted it but it only left a bitter tang. And, now she had no desire to return to it at all.

A gentleman walked in. The television documentary got his attention too as he heard the name “Montesarana”. He turned around and saw Chantelle. His eyes feasted on her for a while. Chantellegave him her magnetisingsmile and a nod to welcome him back. He was Angelo. He veered towards her, took a seat next to her and placed his arm around her shoulders and both watched the documentary in silence. This was their re-introduction in quietude.

He had desired to see her. Chantelle, on the other hand, did not envision that she had a chance of a reunion with him as she had surmised it, that she did not deserve it. A date with the television changed it all for her.

The television program came to an end and they switched it off, and in came a song, flowing calmly on the speakers …… ‘Love in Silence.’ An elf and a Christmas maid brought two Christmas hats on a tray for them to wear and this broke the ice. They both fitted the hats for each other. This reminded them of how Angelo played with her handkerchief head scarf when he popped in at her father’s shoe repairs, during his break times.

Chantelle melted the frosty air and in a deep shameful voice, whispered, “Sorry.”

“Is Montesarana still in you?” Angelo queried in a resembling quiet tone.

“No, I left it behind,” came a sheepish reply. She paused for a while and thoughtfully continued, “It was all shine and glitter to gloss up a cracked clay pot.”

Angelo had allowed Chantelleto go through a romantic interlude to find her rightful place. She was like a parched land thirsting for a stream of trueadoration. And, in the Christmas spirit, he decided to walk the journey with her again and give her a second chance.

From his suit pocket he drew out the auctioned engagement ring and in silence showed it to her. She nodded shyly and tearfully accepted. He fitted the ring once again back on her finger and they kissed. Angelo found his love again but Chantelle had delving to do to make amends. Angelo was willing to wait for it. He felt that she was now more street-wise and mentally settled for the broken pieces to be glued back and gold-glazed to make it renewable.

And, to bring humour back in their relationship, he revealed to her of his “cloak and dagger” activity when she went to Santa Reno with Jacques; how he had disguised facially and trailed her. She found it hilarious. And, in return, she unveiled how she received the shoe note from Jacques. Angelo was left shaking his head in bemusement and he couldn’t resist giving a jab at it, “Didn’t the note stink of his foot sweat?” They both chuckled. They had to put their past back, learn from it, and move forward.

Al, the cobbler heard of the hasty engagement news and he gave a “Begonia flower” nod to it; in other words he was cautious. He sent them two pairs of shoes, a pair for each …… and inside the two shoes, Angelo’s left and Chantelle’s right … … there was an advisory note which read, “Do not auction off each other. It will be too expensive to buy back.” Both giggled at it.

Six months passed by and that summer, Al, the shoemaker’s doubts were overshadowed, and on the wedding day he was like a dog with two tails; overjoyed. He fulfilled his longing wish to walk his venturesome daughter down the aisle. It was a small family affair, with Elisa, the shoe repair assistant present too. She was on the arms of Chantelle’s brother, chewing a gum to control her talking and calm her nerves down.

And, where better to have a wedding reception …… but no other than the ‘Great Wonders’ restaurant. It sure did wonders for Angelo and Chantelle’s romantic journey. And, they gracefully waltzed in the shoes which Al gave them for their engagement, with the note still inside. It was to a slow rhythmic tune of “Love waits to forgive and forget.”

By Z Vally.


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