Have you ever wondered how a shoe ends up in the middle of the highway? Not a small shoe which one can almost imagine a cranky child express his displeasure or his abilities by hurling it out of the window. No, it is a lonely man’s shoe, size 10 by my estimation. The shoe is red, and its character is casual, not a running shoe but definitely a sport type, with matching red laces for frill.
The road is route 28. The shoe is on the southbound lane and it appears that so far it has avoided the devastating crush of a big wheeler. Where is its pair? I scoured the other lanes and there was no other shoe to be found. This is a very fast moving part of route 28. It not a pedestrian road, there are no cross walks, and the shoe was only yards away from the connection to Route 66, another heavily traveled road. To the north, about 20 miles away, is Dulles International Airport. With all of these clues I have created a story for this poor abandoned shoe.
The shoe met its owner in Kismet, Kansas. It was the only pair of red sneakers in the store but they were perfect. You see, the owner was a huge fan of Michael Jackson’s music. He had memorized every lyric of his songs and learned every move of the Thriller and Bad videos. The shoe and its pair stood out among the owner’s other shoes, and for this reason they were the owner’s favorite pair. The shoes got a lot of attention whenever they were worn. People would inquire about them and the owner was always excited to share that he was a hip-hop dancer and dreamed to be in the show, “So You Think You Can Dance.” The owner and his shoes were reknown for their uniqueness. The shoe and its pair were most used in the basement of the house where the owner lived. The shoe would slide, bend and bounce to the booming beat of the music. At the end of many hours of dancing, the shoe rested in the closet, waiting to continue to delight its owner the next day.
Early in the summer, the shoe received an unexpected surprise. Its owner kissed it. Then, he put the shoes on and danced longer and harder than usual. The owner had decided to audition for a dance group. He was very excited. But, auditions were not until October, in Washington, DC so the shoes got to dance a lot over the summer. One day, the owner invited a group of his friends over. He wanted to show them what he had choreographed for his audition. The music was pumping and everyone was into the performance. Suddenly, there was loud snap. What was that?!! The owner was okay, but the shoe’s pair was in trouble. A portion of the sole had come apart from the shoe. Everyone gathered around to inspect the damage. The owner was very upset for his trip to DC was only weeks away. He knew he would not be able to find another pair of red shoes in time. Plus, he really couldn’t afford it. He wasn’t sure it could be repaired, though he was willing to try. Without its pair the shoe would not dance the most important dance of its owner’s life. That night, the shoes sagged.
The shoe and his pair were separated for days. Without his pair, he was useless and left in the darkness of the closet. His owner picked it up a few days later and he held it for several minutes, looking it over with nostalgia. Then, with his other hand, he picked up a shiny new black shoe and held it right next to the red shoe. He said, “You were the perfect shoe for this dance.” He held them both for a few minutes longer. Then he took the other red shoe out of a bag and put them on. They were dancing again! The owner danced for the joy of being reunited with his red shoes, and the red shoes with him. After an hour or so, the owner, took off his red shoes and put them on the side of the bed, just before going to sleep.
It was dark when the owner began packing up the last of his stuff for his trip. Everything was going into the luggage, except his dance shoes. Those he would carry in a bag. He grabbed the bag with his shiny new black shoes in them. He didn’t know that one of his red shoes had fallen in the bag.
He made it to the airport. The owner was very excited for his audition. He had never been to Washington, DC but he had a friend there who was picking him up. He could hardly believe that his day had finally come. He knew in his heart that this was his chance, and that his dancing would finally take him places. Not everyone got his dancing back home. He knew that this trip would change that. The red shoe had never traveled this far either, and in such smelly company. The aroma of unused soles and material permeated the bag.
The owner arrived at Dulles Airport with no delays. He had butterflies in his stomach because he knew that in less than 24 hours he would be dancing before choreographers and professional dancers who would recognize his talent. His friend was very happy to see him and explained that his car was full because he was moving to a new apartment this weekend. He and his girlfriend had found a place together. They piled everything on top of the lampshades, bags and boxes that were in the back of the car. They followed the exit signs and loops to Route 28, southbound.
The red shoe had slipped from the bag and teetered on top of a lampshade, right next to the window. The owner and his friend had a lot of catching up to do. He told his friend how hard he had worked for this and how he had come very close to losing this chance. His friend laughed when he told him that one of his dance shoes had fallen apart while he was dancing. “You wore them out!” his friend said. The owner told him that his red shoes had inspired him to be bold and daring with his choreography and to follow his dream. He said he wished he could have danced with his red shoes at the audition, but that he couldn’t take a chance with the repaired shoe. “Whoa”, the driver said, “there’s the exit.” He was taken by surprise by the left eastbound exit to Route 66. He quickly changed lanes. The red shoe fell out.