I see your shoes there, discarded in the doorway, a microdune of sand beneath the right one, laces tumbling from the left. I must shrink to the size of a mouse so I can fit all the way inside.
It is dark, darker than I’d expected. And smellier. Turns out the flashy colors are only on the outside. In here it is dim, musty, with only a small circle of light near the opening.
How often am I the one shining more brightness into this space? How often am I instead casting shadows?
From the outside, a shadow upon a sneaker is an unnoticeable blip. Inside, it is an eclipse.
Why is it so hard, in the moment, to stop, shrink, and enter?
Your mere presence demands this of me.
I demand it of myself.
And yet it is only after the words have flown that I remember.
“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
Even when I am unrested, unclean, unbalanced, unheeded.
Even when you are a tornado of irrationality.
The shape is a little different, and the size. The colors, especially the outer ones, and the smell; they are different, too. But the feeling — oh, I know it.
Like the back of my hand.
Like the sound of my mother’s voice.
Like a well-worn shoe.