On the Random Stranger With the Nice Shoes

The other day, I was on the bus home and saw the man sitting aside of me. My past roommate from last year would be proud because once I saw his shoes, I kept looking.

They were really nice shoes.


Lace up light brown worn in shoes with bottoms that looked like he walked miles across the city each day back and forth from the work he was proud to say he managed right out of university and let him wear pressed navy dress pants and a button down rolled up to his elbows.

Elbows that flinched each time the man behind him sneezed.

It was quite a loud sneeze.

I couldn't help but press my lips together in a laugh each weeze. It came once....twice....

In between, I looked back.

Good shoes caught my gaze, amused at my laughter. "I am afraid for my life."

"This is not a funny matter," I said trying not to smile, "Sneezing is a very serious matter."

"Oh, I know. My dad sneezes like a monster. I am afraid that if I do, I will sound just like him, so I have been holding in sneezes for years now."

"That cannot be good for your health."

"I may have shaved a few years off my life, but it is worth it from the embarrassment alone."

A good smile was earned, but with it, my brain does this thing. Maybe it is the writer in me. Maybe it is just me. I told someone once and they replied with, "Yeah, I think it is probably best if you don't tell people that. Kinda creepy." But I shrugged anyway to be left alone with this new sight. The sight of me and the stories.

And with all stories that sweep you away, my brain works fast.

Paths suddenly spread out before me when I see someone interesting. See someone who may not feel that they are always worth seeing. I see them happy and sad and everywhere and nowhere. I see a whole life of possibility and where they could possibly end up.

So, I wondered about this man who holds his sneezes. This man who told me he is headed home for an old friend's wedding. And suddenly, I wonder where he is going now and forever.

I wonder how the wedding is going to be.
I wonder if the couple loves each other with each of their "I do's."
I wonder he will find someone to love.
I wonder who it will be. It could be a girl who he meets at the bars his friends drag him out to until four a.m. It could be someone who can't help but dance all night long at that wedding. It could be me.
I wonder if he will love them at first sight and if he will always wear his dress shirts rolled up to his elbows and if he will maybe become a professor someday or peruse a creative endevour he may not feel he had inside of him.

Yes? No? Maybe so?

Because he should. He should also know that I love his shoes and I now they have traveled far and how he has a long way to go. And in those shoes he will see both the horrors and wonders of the world. Which?

It depends where he steps.


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