Friday. Stockton drove me, my sister, and her boyfriend to a nearby restaurant for dinner. It happened to be Valentines Day. Don’t get me started on v-day, a retail holiday that can make people feel anything but love. Obligation, pressure, loneliness, craving, but not pure, simple love. When opportunities arise to celebrate unconditional love, I lean in though.
My sister and I checked in with the hostess then maneuvered to the side of the entrance area, waiting for our other halves to arrive from the parking lot. My vision adjusted to the environment easily. The only discomfort I felt stemmed from the wind that billowed past with patrons using the double doors. Brrrr.
I gazed at the floor, resting my eyes a bit, anticipating the interactions to come. Pairs of people comprised the majority of the crowd, intermixed with families.
Have you ever studied a group of unrelated people from the knees down? Try it. I spied wool trousers and cotton khakis, corduroy skinny jeans and skirts. Occasionally, an animal print purse or faux fur jacket caught my attention, but what entertained me the most–other than the banter of my group–was the footwear.
My feet wore nothing fancy–gray and purple sneakers due to the snowy conditions. My loved ones wore leather dress shoes and suede boots.
Straight across from me stood a pair of white, leathery heels with an ankle wrap and a pair of dark dress shoes. A toe tapped whenever the hostess announced the next party to be seated.
A family stepped inside: stockings and sensible black pumps, a pair of red Vans, loafers, sneakers and a pair of studded boots. Steps were taken, paused with toe down, heel up, reversed and turned toward an open space across the carpet.
A couple hovered in the opposite corner, toes facing one another: a nondescript pair of dress shoes plus a fierce pair of black platform stilettos. My toes curled.
Feet shifted in place. As diners exited, a shuffling dance occurred as each person waiting gave way to people leaving. A half step, a quarter turn. A step in, then back out.
Another group arrived before my party was called to our table. Dress shoes, loafers, heels, and finally…snakeskin boots? I couldn’t be sure of the type-gators or snake-skin. I gazed at the shiny material in contrast to the dull loafers and architectural heels. A true parade of shoes.
Other footwear passed me, but I stopped watching. The hostess would call us any moment, ushering us away from the quiet displays of fashion effort and toward our table conversation.