Author – Oliver
I was at a movie theater when group of boys about my age, early college, came in. At first I didn’t give them much attention, but they got in line behind me to see Spider-Man and I peaked down at their shoes, because I always like to check out the shoes guys wear. I saw a pair of blue Vans and a pair of white Converse, and a pair of Adidas ultra-boosts, and I got a glimpse of a red Nike Janoski in between the crowd of legs. I couldn’t get a better view, so I looked away and promptly forgot about everything thinking about the movie. A few seconds later, I was surprised to hear one of the boys say “but my foot is so cold!” As discreetly as I could, I glanced again and shuffled my way into a better view. Then I saw it. There was no pair of red Janoski’s; there was only one! One of the boys was wearing only one shoe on his right foot, and his left foot sported only a thin black ankle sock with dark gray heel and toes, and red lettering. Obviously not wanting it to touch the ground much, he’d kept it tucked behind his shod foot and just his very tip-toes.
I started to eavesdrop on their conversation and it sounded like the boys had stolen his shoe at home as a prank and thrown it somewhere in the yard, outside in the dark. The poor guy had spent every moment since looking for it, eventually running out of time before they had to leave for the movie. Rather than miss out, he’d decided just to tag along without his left shoe!
Feeling brave, I came up with a plan. I looked down at my own gray Nike SB’s, and I discreetly bent down to “tie” my left shoe, but really I was loosening it quite a bit, but still tying it off so it wasn’t obviously untied. Then I waited. When it was time to go into the theater and get a seat, I hurried just enough to end up in the middle of the crowd: dangerous, but exactly where I wanted to be. Pretty soon I felt it: someone stepped on the back of my left Nike SB, and after I had loosened it, it didn’t have a chance! My left foot slid right out and I felt my foot touch the cold hard ground, protected only by a dark gray ankle sock with blue detail and lettering. I turned around to see my shoe and sure enough, it was already being kicked back too far to retrieve. Then I looked for the one-shod boy behind me and found him easily, staring at my fallen shoe. I thought for sure he would pick it up, but to my amazement he just laughed and walked by it! I heard him say to his friend, “Check it out; someone else is in the same boat I am.”
I decided not to scramble backwards for my shoe; truthfully, I’d assumed my shoeless “friend” would pick it up since I had abandoned my left shoe, the one he was missing, but my plan was foiled when he walked right by it. Instead, I watched my one-shod friend tip-toe to a seat and then I followed quickly and took the seat next to him, knowing the theater would be packed and every seat would be taken. I looked over and he was sitting on his shoeless foot to hide it with his right shoed-foot resting on the railing in front of him (behind the next row of seats). I did the same so as not to draw attention to my own now-only-socked foot, and also to keep it warm since the other boy was right: a foot without a shoe was cold inside this theater! I tried to make a plan to show the boy next to me that I, too, had lost my shoe, but I wasn’t sure how.
About an hour into the film, I got a chance! The boy must have been so engrossed in the movie that he forgot about his one-shod state and put his exposed socked foot up on the railing in front of us! Not wanting to lose my chance, I discreetly copied and also put both of my feet up on the railing, one Nike SB and one socked foot, obviously missing the safe confines of its shoe. I debated getting his attention, but while I tried to think of a way, I watched his black and colored sock slide over and gently tap my equally-exposed foot! Almost frozen, and a little embarrassed I’d been caught, I looked over and he was chuckling quietly at me. “You too?” he whispered.
I nodded nervously, desperately not wanting to give away that I had sacrificed my Nike SB on purpose because of him. “I lost it in the crowd coming in and didn’t want to go back for it and miss out on a good seat,” I whispered back during a louder scene.
He nodded empathetically. “Friend’s house; mine never even made it here,” he said with a grimace, looking sadly at his current footwear situation. “I’m a little worried I might not find it after the show. I have to go home tonight and if it’s gone for good, I don’t have another pair…” He looked genuinely stressed.
Wanting to comfort him a little, and secretly enjoying the current situation, I gestured to my lap. “I can’t help you find your shoe, but I can keep your foot warm?” I offered.
He looked nervous, but after a moment he nodded slowly. “It is…like, really cold in here, and my toes are sore and freezing!” he admitted. I pulled his foot into my lap, I hoped not too eagerly, and rubbed his foot for the rest of the movie. He cute little athletic sock was tight but so flexible that I could mostly get between his toes and everything! It was so cute to feel them wiggle a little whenever he had a ticklish moment. Sometimes I put my own socked-foot on my lap too and we would play a little private game of footsie. After the movie, he reluctantly pulled his foot back and stood up, keeping his shoe flat and his poor sock on tip-toe again. “Snapchat?” he asked quietly and we quickly added each other. I headed out first and he, Logan I now knew, and his friends (who had hopefully remained oblivious to our shenanigans) followed behind me a bit. When I got to the front I asked about my shoe, not worried at all as I had only lost it a moment before the movie and I was sure I could get it back.
The worker grimaced and I immediately tensed up. He shrugged apologetically. “We put it in the lost and found, but that gets locked when the manager leaves at midnight.”
I frantically pulled my phone to check the time and my heart sank as I saw the 12:02am. I looked down at my suddenly much more forlorn looking single shoe and back at the worker, speaking up a little so the boy behind me could hear. “ So there’s no way I can get my shoe back?” I glanced back and he looked at me in horror, and I felt his socked foot touch the back of my leg discreetly and comfortingly.
The guard shook his head solemnly. “Sorry man, not tonight.” I looked back at Logan and he mouthed “SORRY!” and with that I had no choice but to march myself back out to my car wearing only one Nike SB, knowing full well I wouldn’t be able to come back another day to retrieve its errant partner.
When I got home, I had a snap from Logan, a video of him looking for his shoe outside at his friend’s house, in the dark. I wished him luck but after another hour of looking, I opened a snap of his sad face, almost in tears, captionless, and I knew it was too late, and he was going to have to head home minus one left red Janoski sneaker.