Yellow Shoes (Day Seven of Story a Day Challenge)




            I lie wedged between him and the wall. Sticky and slightly dizzy, I struggle to sit up. A used condom sticks to my thigh, and I peel it off. I want to bathe in Clorox.


            Tyler–or is it Taylor–lies on his back, mouth open, and emits snorting sounds. The smell of Doritos and stale beer on his breath gags me.


            Last night he seemed like a hot musician in his skinny jeans and funky yellow shoes. This morning he’s just another guy who wanted to get laid, and I barely remember the sex. He said he was going to be bigger than Justin Timberlake. I figure he’ll be lucky if he ends up singing on street corners for spare change. I feel nauseous, but if I hurl, I’ll wake him.


            I need to get out before he wakes.


            I don’t do the skanky party girl thing. I’m just not into drinking till you puke and getting laid by guys who only see you as a collection of convenient holes. At least I wasn’t until last night when Ashley finally talked me into it.


            “Come on, Mad, put down the books and come with me just for once. It’ll be fun.”


            And it was fun in the semi dark with pounding music and everyone laughing and drinking, so I let go of shy me and become that other person: the cool girl I always wanted to be. I mixed it up with the frat boys who let us in for free because we were girls, and I flirted with the guys who worked the door. Who knew underneath my average exterior was this whole other person?


            Was that me? Or maybe it was just some fun house version of me, distorted with too much black eyeliner, a slut top, and skinny jeans.


            Tyler/Taylor gives a snort and shifts enough for me to slide out of bed and retrieve my pile of clothes from the floor. His side of the room is cluttered with guitars, pictures of him, and what appear to be song lyrics: the words of a fifth rate writer trying to put a new spin on old clichés.


            Oh, baby, baby need you so bad

            You’re the best girl I ever had . . .



           I’m betting if I get out now, Tyler/Taylor won’t even remember me.


            I dress quickly in the thin gray light, pulling on my bright red sweatshirt. I wish I wore black or gray, something stealthy.


            On the floor I see Tyler/Taylor’s shiny yellow loafers lying askew. They’re held together by duct tape and staples and are run down and scuffed. Why did I think they were so retro-cool last night? I wish I’d hung with his roommate at the party. He was the tall, dark-haired guy with the bright blue eyes, but he seemed kind of shy. His side of the room is filled with books, and an Irish flag hangs over his unmade bed. He got me a Coke when I just couldn’t swill down any more beer, and seemed like a nice guy. Guess I blew that one.


            I start to leave, then stop and grab the yellow shoes. I tuck them under my sweatshirt and slip out to the elevator. Once outside the crisp morning air revives me a little, and I gulp in deep breaths. I can feel the weight of the yellow shoes against my gut, and for a moment, I’m not sure what to do or why I took those stupid shoes. Then I take a deep breath and head up the road to the bridge the spans the river running along our campus. I cross to the middle of the bridge and look around. No traffic. No cops. Not even any rowers. Six o’clock on Sunday morning is a quiet time in the city.


            One by one I let the shoes drop into the swirling gray water. They float for a moment before the current sucks them away.


            On the way back to my dorm, the sun breaks through the clouds, and the sky begins to turn blue.