There was a girl named Kayla in my high school gym class. She was part of another clique, so I never really talked to her much. However, there was always one thing about her that stuck out and that was she was always late for gym class. It was always the first class of our day, and either she always slept in or just didn’t care enough to show up on time.
By the time our teacher was ready to take attendance, Kayla and sometimes with her two girlfriends, would be running to the line-up for attendance. Sometimes Kayla would be running in just her socks as she carried her shoes in her hand, untied. The soft padding of her socked feet on the ground was very distinct. Best of all, if Kayla ran fast enough, she would perform a small slide as she slid into position.
I’ve always wondered what goes through a girls head when they walk or run around shoeless in public. Do they care? Is it a natural thing for them? Maybe nobody else notices except me?
Regardless, on this day, Kayla came running to class with one shoe on her right foot and an exposed white ankle sock on her left. As she was heading to the line-up, the teacher, finally had enough of her late antics, decided that she needed to be punished. Kayla held her empty shoe in her hand as the teacher walked up to her.
“You’re going to miss the warm-up today,” the teacher said sternly.
“You’re going to take this attendance slip to the office and explain to the principal why you’re late.”
“Fine,” Kayla said as she assumed her position in line.
Now this is the weird thing. Kayla had all the time in the world to put her left shoe on, instead she stood in line with her shoe in her hand as the teacher completed attendance.
The teacher came back to Kayla and handed her the slip. Kayla shrugged and casually threw her empty shoe into the corner of the gym and walked with one shoe and one white sock out the door.
I’m not sure what inspired her to do so, or maybe she noticed me staring at her, but whatever the case was, my mind was distracted trying to solve this riddle. Kayla nonchalantly walked across the dusty gym floor, then out the main doors toward the school in one shoe and one, now slightly dirty, white sock.
We finished our warm-ups and then we finished our first activity before the gym doors opened again.
In walked Kayla, still in her one shoed state, her white sock, now a filthy grey on the bottom as she walked toward her discarded shoe. As she was about to retrieve it, a couple of the guys grabbed it and tossed it around the gym.
Unphased, Kayla continued her new journey of retrieving her shoe.
Finally, the teacher had enough and told the guys to knock it off.
Kayla grabbed her shoe and continued to walk in one shoe to the other side of the gym where we were standing and waiting for the next activity.
She finally put her left shoe on the floor and slipped her dirty white sock into the shoe and finished the class this way.
After class, I saw Kayla leave the changing room, still in her gym shoes, but she had changed everything else. I’m not sure what possessed her to keep her dirty socks on for the rest of the day, but maybe the shoes were comfortable or maybe she only had one pair of shoes for the day.
For the rest of the day any time I saw her, I couldn’t help but look at her shoes and think of the image of her walking around the school in one shoe and one sock.
Sadly, Kayla never came to gym class without shoes on her feet anymore. Something tells me the guys throwing her shoe around was the last straw.