The elevator opens with a “ding” the second I press the button. 

Looking over my shoulder, I check my reflection in the hallway mirror, pick at a wild strand of hair and step into the elevator. 

All without looking down.

“Good morning,” I say, adjusting the bag on my shoulder and fixing my eyes on a section of wall appropriate for riding the elevator with other passengers.   

The man says nothing and then is gone without a trace.  

I feel the woman’s gaze as we wait  — in what I think is perfectly normal elevator etiquette — for the door to close behind him.

She speaks as we begin to move to the next floor.

“Uh, I just have to make a comment —”

I give her a smile and a look that says “go right ahead.”

“Are you aware that you have —

And it’s here that I begin to feel there’s something ‘off’  about me — is it my shirt?  Did I forget to button it?  A stain?  No — my pants?  Oh god, is my zipper gaping open? What? —

What?

“— two different shoes on?”

I’d sooner believed her if she said my hair was on fire, so sure I am that this is just not the case.  But then —

My mind races back to the last thing I did before I walked out the door —

The shelves of shoes right by the front door.  A glass of milk, a footwear choice —

Grab a pair with the left hand and plunk on the floor while draining the glass and staring into space.  Pick up my keys.  Step into the shoes —

Without looking down —

Until now.

My god, could they be any different?

One is a flaming orange and white Car Shoe.  The other, a Stuart Weitzman tortoise patent.

At 8 a.m. I can hardly say “it was dark” —

And “I meant to do that” is too offbeat — even for me. 

So I laugh and tell her thank you for her polite comment —

And she leaves while I ponder —

Getting this day off on the right feet.

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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