They were just a pair of sneakers. I was ushering for A Midsummer’s Dream and afterward as I looked for trash and discarded programs in the bleachers I saw the sneakers under a chair. I remembered that nerdy girl who under a spell had become most desirable – at one point in the play she ran up into the bleachers to take stock of her new status in the darkness with the audience for a fragment of a the night. She must have taken her shoes off at that point. To me they still seemed magical with her transformative effect, her leap from an outcast to an influential woman. I slipped off my clogs and tried on the sleek baby blue sneakers. They felt good. The actress had been a petite woman like myself. Her dumb luck still giving a blessed bounce to the white striped running shoes, or maybe they were dancing shoes. They were so cool and comfortable that I couldn’t imagine why she had ever taken them off. I told myself I would just walk around in them while I took some empty water bottles to the recycling.
In the lobby, I’m not sure why, except that there was music playing and we both felt its pulse, a strange man danced with me. In the open space of the theater lobby he presented his hand and led me into a sweet phrase of steps, as I dropped the bottles into the recycle bin. This man from the stage, I recognized, was the Portuguese poet in this summer’s version of The Dream. No one seemed to think it was odd that we two strangers took this time and place to dance. He never introduced himself, only released me with a gentle nod. I went back to the theater to pick programs up off the floor.
The company of actors was still there sitting on the edge of the stage, talking with a few very interested students about Shakespeare and acting. I could go up and talk to them too. It had been a great performance, I could tell them so, but first I’d have to return the shoes, back to the place where they had been under the seat in the bleachers. I could innocently ask then, if anyone had forgotten them. I let shyness dissuade me from going up close to the stage though. I was just beginning to think right now would be a good time to leave.
Margie, the left door usher, came over and asked me how I liked the show. She was staring straight at my shoes, my new almost stolen shoes.
“It was great.” I said.
“Well, you look great from toe to head!” She said, at last looking me in the eye.
“Can you sing? She asked out of the blue.
I don’t know why but I just started singing The Star Spangled Banner loud and clear, and people looked at me and started clapping.
My job was done. I could go home. It was easy to forget to change back into my own shoes. Things happen. Everything is small and unnoticed in the larger theater of the world I said to myself. I won’t apologize, that would be unprofessional. I’ve now taken my role with complete commitment. I AM that irresistible woman. I’ve found my source of power in wearing these shoes. With powerfully bouncy feet I can go where I want to go. I will never return these shoes. I know that now. If she finds me out, I will fight her to the death to keep these shoes.
This story is inspired by my experiences at http://www.townhalltheater.org/ and http://www.middlebury.edu/blwc http://www.middlebury.edu/blwc and http://www.maidenvermont.com/wiki/Main_Page all wonderful places for inspiration.