It was a bitter cold northeast night with temperatures dropping and rain in the forecast. On a busy highway there lay a shoe along the curb, laces awry conjuring an image of struggle. From whence had it come, this shoe? Or the foot that once bore it, what of it? Was there some sort of scuffle resulting in the shoe being cast away or merely horseplay resulting in it being thrown from the open window of a rapidly moving vehicle?
Night was by now in full swing and rain had commenced with snow projected to follow the next day. Should no recapture be worked out the shoe was in for a rugged time. And what of its compadre? Is it, too, lost or is it still safely ensconced in its domestic existence? How long could that be maintained if its errant partner remains on the lam? The healthy shoe at some point will be deemed rubbish without its teammate and be cast into the ash bin.
The youth who had most recently worn the shoe returned home from school quickly tossing aside his backpack and gym gear. He was an athletic fellow boasting of average skills for the three main North American sports. He was in a hurry to fulfill his post-school routine of securing an afternoon snack. He disembarked his gear in an impressive single-motion of haphazard discardment allowing the vacancy of the aforementioned missing item to go unnoticed.
One gym shoe landed in the vicinity of the shoe pile just inside the garage door adjacent to the recycle bins. He saw the one land, did not observe the second, of course, because the second never made it home. ‘Maybe in my gym bag,’ he thought, but he was in too much of a food frenzy-induced haste to seek verification. He was not entirely aware that the second shoe was absent. The pile of shoes was generously engorged with those of his three brothers. It could be, and likely would be, months before it is even noticed that it was missing, weeks, easily. Even then the remaining shoe would experience a period of time in purgatory to see if its compadre somehow turned up.
The wayward shoe had slipped from its cozy tight pocket of the book bag while the boy rode his bike home from school. The bicycle was ridden roughly over the curb in avoidance of a group of people at the bus stop. This knocked loose said shoe because they had not been tied together nor properly secured. They had been stuffed into each side pocket of the backpack, but the constant jostling of the bike ride resulted in an eventual easily attained freedom.
A deep blue canvas quartertop basketball shoe, a left shoe, with a dark black smudge on its side, a hole by the toe, several overlapping layers of duct tape wrapped around the front near the toe, plus the iconic swoosh. Not a fashion statement, the carefully laid duct tape, but remedial action necessitated by the host’s vigorous and plentiful skateboarding. This shoe will never be worn again. It was in a depression along the curb and rain was already pooling. This was shaping up to be a very bad first night on the loose.