Foot Gazing

By Ava Skidgel, TIWP Student

The train doors rushed open and busy feet stepped across the crack that separated the station’s city floor and the train. Above me, a sign that flashed “Crosby” indicated the train’s whereabouts. My head was perched downwards and I was observing the passing feet that trekked and treaded through the entrance. Feet tell a lot about a person.

The train doors rushed to close and everyone who had just boarded took their place. No one was standing because it wasn’t rush hour so I was able to see a pair of leather oxfords just across from where I sat. This pair of feet belonged to a business man. At least I assumed him to be one. The feet were stiff and sure of themselves in their leather soles. He was either tall or lazy, the way his legs extended too far to be in a busy subway train. It was improper subway etiquette this way. Gray slacks hung just over the top of his laces, ensuring the containment of his socks. The train jerked and I was taken out of my feet gazing.

I looked up and my eyes fell on the man who belongs to the feet I have been inspecting. Or maybe the feet belong to him. His hair hung devilishly over his forehead in an Elvis kind of way. And his eyes were glazed. Not sad, just tired in an up-for-too-many-hours kind of way. He wasn’t aware of my staring, as he was busy looking over something on his phone. 

I couldn’t help but wonder if he likes the same books as me. 
Or if he likes almond milk poured before his espresso. 
And sitting on benches in the park, especially in the rain. 
If he would never try a new burrito, never straying from the small taqueria on the corner of 3rd. 
Maybe he secretly liked the color pink and would never let it be known. 
I wondered if he liked being in museums for hours on end.
Maybe he did like all of these things, but I would never know. 
I couldn’t help thinking about him. My him, or my old him. 

He was different. He didn’t like the way the rain sounded on his roof. 
He loved his parents to death, especially his mom, and they loved each other. 
He didn’t like taking walks with no destination. 
He didn’t care to make his bed. 
He didn’t like reading books and not finishing half of them. 
He didn’t adore cute old bus drivers that dealt with little kids all day. 
Or watching the sun’s hues bleed into the sky’s blue.
He didn’t like the way the sand met the shore. 
Or collect sand dollars and seashells shaped like little moons. 
He wanted to stay home, and raise his kids where he had grown up.

I liked almond milk in my coffee. 
And falling asleep to the sound of pit-pat on my roof. 
I needed my sheets to be fitted and silky and to meet each corner.
I had a stack of books in my room that were unfinished. 
I watched the sun set each night, and had little moon sand dollars spread across my night stand.
I was completely contrary. 
But we had once liked each other, despite that. 

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