A Shoe-In

This morning on my bus ride home from the gym, I helped myself to a single seat in front of that occupied by an attractive guy I see almost every morning on the same bus. I have never spoken to him, but today I couldn’t help myself. You see, he was wearing a spectacular set of running shoes that begged for my attention and mention.
“Great shoes,” I said into his David Bowie-esque angular face. And oh, they were. Orange and black and silver and with a swanky lacing system (intricate enough to be a system!).
“Thanks!” he said with a broad smile. “Ordinarily I don’t wear tennis shoes [yes, I think he used that term] to work, but I couldn’t help it today. My feet hurt!”
“Now you know the plight of the lay-dee,” I said, mock-batting my eyelashes as faux-flirtatiously as I could for a girl with two hours of gym “glow” on her face.
We chatted for a bit about the shoes (he found them at one of the stores in Union Square — “DSW?” I said, offhand, just to show him I’m a girl in the know) and the color orange (“I love orange!” he said, to which I responded, “I do, too! But you know what? A lot of people don’t! But it’s flattering to every skintone! And hair color! Even redheads look good in orange!” — and yes, I did exclaim. I’m very exclamatory after my workouts. And when enthused about color.).
We giggled and smiled and had a gay ol’ time. I was basking in the delight of having made a new bus “friend”. And then came the awkward moment when neither of us knew how to keep the fire burning. So I sort of spun around in my seat and pretended to be fascinated by the New York Times of the woman in front of me and the scenery passing outside the window on my left. And started worrying.
I knew, from seeing him every day, that his stop was around 57th and Sixth Avenue. Our chat took us from 23rd Street to Herald Square, which meant that for the next 23 blocks I could fret over whether he and I should say “so long” to each other when it was time for him to leave. Did we acknowledge our nascent acquaintance? Or did we just act like we hadn’t shared a beautiful moment, bonding over the beauty of his running/tennis shoes and a common love of orange? What was a girl to do?
Because I’m a paranoid narcissist, I was sure he was thinking the same thing. He was wondering if we should have lunch sometime. Or coffee. Or, at the very least, exchange email addresses. Or kiss. (Even though I am 99.952985627% sure he was gay. Straight men don’t look like David Bowie.)
When his stop finally came up, I didn’t even notice that he’d risen. The next thing I knew, he had passed my seat and was on his way down the aisle toward the front of the bus to alight.
Because I’m an insecure paranoid narcissist, I thought, “How dare he!” quickly followed by, “He can’t get away from me fast enough!”
Surely he would turn around at some point during the walk down the aisle and seal our eternal bond with a grin/wink combo pack. He just had to. Right? But no. He got off the bus like nothing happened. He didn’t even turn to look up at the bus to see if he could catch a glimpse of his newest best friend as she rode off toward Central Park. He just walked up Sixth Avenue, turned east on 58th Street, and made his way to wherever it is he makes his way.
“Your shoes suck,” I said softly, as a lone orange tear slowly rolled down my cheek.