Frantically I walked along the shoreline realizing that I had lost my right shoe.
It was midday and I found myself wandering further away from the ferry departure terminal in search of my shoe.
The overwhelming feeling of walking onto the ferry with only one shoe trumped the anxiety of missing the next sailing. Were this a third world country, or a warmer climate, being half shoeless might not be noticed. For the life of me, I couldn’t even remember what my missing shoe looked like. Inexplicably, I was unable to look down at its match which I wore on my left foot.
Limited to the knowledge of how my left shoe felt on my foot was all I had to identity my right one, made me a bit uneasy.
Perhaps I would recognize my shoe when I saw it. Had I become a quasi-Cinderella looking for a shoe with a perfect fit?
Leaving the shoreline, I crossed the asphalt street onto a compacted dirt road. The dirt was light in color and almost clay like in texture. Walking on the road was comfortable and soft as an industrial grade fatigue mat.
The dirt was dry yet with each step, no dust would rise. Immensely Tall eucalyptus trees bordered the road. A gentle breeze swayed the sage green foliage. The warm sun caressed the stomates on the feather like leaves to open, releasing a soft menthol fragrance into the roadways air. The scene was reminiscent of the the movie cover for the movie “Rainman”.
Nerves aromatherapeutically calmed, I hopped down the down feeling the sun on my back.
The road dirt slowly turned to white sand, leading to an underpass.
As I neared the underpass, the bright sun, made it difficult to clearly see the several figures standing in the shadow of the overhead road. As I stepped into the shade, the sand felt cool on my right shoeless foot. I sensed the absence of subtle fragrances and warm sunshine. Three young men in jeans and T-shirts arrogantly acted oblivious to my presence. My gut told me otherwise.
Passing by them I immediately felt them following me. As we all entered the sunshine, one of the young men with a pixie/Peter Pan like haircut and intricately detailed tats on his left arm asked me “what’s with the shoe”? ….”You tell me”? I replied. He cracked a crooked smile, I could tell he was amused and willing to help me in my plight.
Peter Pan and his posse led me over a few concrete road partitions to a burgundy Chrysler voyager van. He told me I could use it to make my way back to the terminal and wished me good luck in finding my right shoe.
I started the van and drove down the white sandy road which I noticed ended at a sandy beach.
Suddenly the road became dramatically steeper, the sand was deep and the accelerator was stuck. I literally stood on the brake but to no avail. As I anticipated crashing into the sandy beach, I noticed several other vans stuck at the bottom of the hill, deep in the sand. My mind shifted back to the ferry departure time and not wanting to get stuck in the sand. I shifted my feet from the brake to the gas pedal and floored it. As I neared the bottom of the hill, I spun the van around making a 180 degree turn. I sped back up the hill, gained control of the van and headed toward the ferry.
I parked the van at the terminal, left the keys in it and walked aboard the ferry.
I took stock of still being in one piece (although still short one shoe) and went down to the lower deck prior to departure to relax .
A heavy galvanized steel loading dock hung over the shore dock. As the ferry rocked in the waves, The emerald green water was shallow, sandy, and spotted with a variety of underwater ocean foliage. Much to my surprise, I noticed what appeared to be a men’s right tennis shoe. Immediately I knew it was mine.
I knelt on the steel loading ramp and reached into the water, it was just out of reach. If only the ferry would rock inland on the next wave, I might be able to reach it. On the next wave, the vessel moved inland, now was my chance. I got into a prone position, reached out, but just missed it. Unfortunately, my efforts created underwater currents, bobbing the shoe even further away.
My final hope was to stretch across to the shore dock and pull the ferry closer.
I reached out and grabbed the rusted angle iron on the dock, dug my finger tips into the wood decking and pulled. The ferry stubbornly moved toward the dock.
Not a moment to soon, I realized my hands were in danger being sheered off between the ferry plank and the edge of the wood dock. Quickly I moved my hands just as the ferry ramp clamored on the angle iron.
Rolling to my right, the shoe was within reach and I grabbed it out of the water. Dripping wet, I brought it on board and threw it to my right.
Cell phone ringing, (was it midnight already?) I was startled from a sound sleep. It was my customer calling. Looking out my windshield I saw a ferryman with a flashlight directing me to start my vehicle and exit the ferry. I had arrived at departure bay in Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and fallen asleep in the drivers seat.
Once clear of the dock, frantically, I drove to the nearest side street to gather my thoughts,,, “ok I’ll be there around 1030”, I told my customer. Rounding the corner, I stopped to grab a Starbucks. My left shoe was on but the right one was missing(imagine that). I stepped out of the car with my left foot standing on the wet asphalt. I slid the drivers seat back. Surely it had slid under the seat while I slept…. Not there. Looking over far on the passenger side floor , my right shoe… Just out of reach…. “Venti mocha please”.