Another day to step out into the world. Immediately he hears a splash and feels the cold seep between his toes. Across the street, his neighbor comes out at the same time and notices, once again, that the man has become a victim of the pesky puddle at the bottom of the steps. The neighbor never really even bothers to look over at the man’s steps anymore. Maybe if he had plants or flowers they would soak up some of the standing water. Just before he hears the anticipated cursing under the breath of why can life never go right, the neighbor heads the other way around the corner. He knows the man will predictably untie his shoe laces to help his shoes dry out.

Here comes Sam with the wet shoes, notice the children at the park next to the townhomes where the man lives. Since they are accustomed to the lethargic, wet steps, they hardly notice his walking pace. Besides, it’s hard to notice his walking stride – it’s more like a stumble, because he almost trips over his shoe laces. They imagine, predictably, his rhetorical, internal thoughts about how long the day ahead will be with wet feet and how he should have never agreed to this in the first place. Besides his slow pace, they are reminded almost every day about his slouched shoulders. Although not even that short, Sam typically walks past a tall man wearing designer suits and shirts. Oftentimes the taller man has to re-direct his stride to avoid having the top of Sam’s head bump into his shoulder.

Up until this point of the morning, Sam has yet to have his necessary fix of caffeine. The barista recognizes him immediately and waves to his team to begin the man’s triple cappuccino. Before he would have a chance to mumble how he’s in a hurry and that he will need to pay with a ten, the barista starts to gather the four dollar bills and remaining change. After all, the man always insists that he needs small bills so he can handle the upcoming day at the corner store.

The dry cleaners across the street open very early and by this point in the morning, they wait at the store front for patrons to come hand them dirty clothes.  During this short down time, they seem to always look across the street and notice how the signs advertising sales at the corner store were always only good for one day and always were left up for the day prior. After all, Sam, wouldn’t want patrons to know what was on sale on a week-to-week basis so they could stock up in this small town and wait until the next sale.

Back at his townhome, when Sam was tying his shoes at the bottom of his steps, he spoke under his breath, probably louder than he realized, how it’s no big deal, his feet have been wet many times before. After all, spring had just begun and earlier today he planted some daisies adjacent to his steps. Anyway, he wouldn’t be out too long, he just wanted to walk to the coffee shop and then take a walk past the corner store.

Actually he wasn’t even in a hurry today. He went inside and changed his shoes. He wanted something to walk in that would be dry and comfortable. He didn’t have to rush to the corner store today. He couldn’t remember the last time he was so patient and optimistic.

Sam walked next to the park and noticed the children playing. They were looking down the street towards him.  He started to wave at the kids and wanted to wish them a good day. Instead of waving back, they immediately stopped and watched. Kids can be so unique and imaginative, thought the man, although he thought the behavior was quite abrupt and odd.

As Sam walked past the tall man wearing the designer suit this morning, he noticed that he didn’t make eye contact. In fact, the man seemed to walk uncomfortably out of his way, as if he was worried that their paths would collide. The tall man even dropped and swerved his shoulder out of the way. Sam’s eye-level was up to at least the tall man’s nose and he was clearly aware of his surrounding and the tall man’s presence. Sam said, ‘excuse me’, to the tall man. The tall man responded, ‘hey I didn’t want to bump into your head or step on your wet shoe laces’, without losing stride.

What about my head or shoe laces, Sam thought to himself. He could understand that children would maybe not wave back at him, but he thought the tall man seemed grouchy or rude. Furthermore, what even was the tall man talking about? He was not that much shorter than him and he had just tied his dry shoes.

At the coffee shop, the barista already motioned for his order and started collecting the four dollar bills before Sam had even entered. He stopped the order and said he’ll have a latte instead this time. The barista looked puzzled and even a little flustered. He said, ‘but, sir, this may be an issue. I’d have to take the time to ring up your order and count your change. It’ll take extra time.’ Sam replied that he wasn’t in a hurry. Besides, he didn’t need any change, he’ll just pay the full balance.

Sam expected the barista and the coffee shop to be puzzled about his change in behavior. He always needed to pay with a ten dollar bill so that he could get small bills as change. He needed the small bills to fill the register at the corner store so that he could run his business for the day and provide change to his customers.  He knew that he had typically been in a hurry as a patron of the coffee shop.

Now it was time for Sam to approach the corner store. He was a little nervous. The fact that he had considered selling the corner store for a long time did not make it any easier when the day had finally come. Today was the first day that he walked towards the corner store as a patron and not a store owner. The business model had already changed – special deals were placed on the windows, but the deals were good until the end of the month. He never would have let patrons game the system like that.

He had never spoken to the owners of the dry cleaners before. Besides, Sam never bothered wearing nice clothes. Today, however, he took a more casual path and decided to go say hi. When he entered the dry cleaners, the owners asked him what the special deal was going to be today. He knew that the owners didn’t know that he had just sold the store, but thought it was so obvious – they had been looking at the giant special deal signs across the street. This time, Sam decided to be a little more direct. Sam replied that he had just sold the store and asked why they didn’t notice the new signs. They were caught off guard and didn’t provide an answer. But, why was it so hard for them to realize, Sam thought to himself.

When Sam made it back to his townhome, his neighbor was back in front of his place, too. Sam told the neighbor that he just sold his corner store. The neighbor was taken back by Sam’s sunny deposition, but nonetheless responded with congratulations. But he also mentioned that maybe his shoes wouldn’t be so wet and untied if he put some plants at the bottom of his steps – he then walked inside.

Sam felt that day that he was a new man and he started to realize that it was so. Maybe he had been gloomy and sad for so long that people started just assuming who he is and what he does. Now, it was up to him to make the world see him again. He is real and alive and hasn’t felt this great in a long time.

March 06, 2020 03:03

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Jo Fellhauer
23:39 Mar 10, 2020

I really like how the title plays on what happens to the character. Well done.


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Tiffany Ogunsua
13:58 Mar 13, 2020

I like how there’s a mystery element to the story that keeps us reading and wanting to know why everyone was treating him in such manners.


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Genevieve Kaiser
21:43 Mar 11, 2020

Describing Sam from the other characters' points of view was an excellent literally device.


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