Pablo Michael’s Picture Choice: Both
Title: Pedro’s New Shoes
Impatient with the Taxi driver’s driving and taking me far beyond my destination, I paid him his fee without a tip. I decided to find the printing supply shop by myself. I was beginning to find my way around the true flavor of Mexico City rather than the polished shops, hotels and restaurants of the Zona Rosa and the International Zone. The buildings were stacked like concrete boxes with little or no architectural adornments. I probably would never have discovered this section of the city had it not been for the location of the printing supply shop. I turned right on one street looking familiar and then a left on another and walked several blocks until I turned down another narrower street until I was walking down a narrow back alley where I hoped to find the store. But all I found were several boys playing a game of baseball. I was lost and my Spanish was minimal. I feared my day was going to be shot on a long drawn-out journey through Mexico City and not finding the printing supply store or any shop that would substitute for it. I was about to turn around and trace my steps back from where my foot journey began, when the shirtless boy, batting, hit a hard line drive directly at me. I raised both hands together in a defensive move to prevent the ball from striking my head. When the ball touched my right hand palm, it sent a shrill slap echoing against the walls of the adjacent buildings and down the alley to the response of loud cheers from the boys admiring my fortunate catch before the ball struck my nose. My right hand stung while my left hand fingers burned from the pain of the ball attempting to escape my grasp.
The boy who hit the ball ran toward me, smiling and chattering well-spoken compliments in English with hardly a trace of a Spanish accent. “That was a terrific catch. Do you play baseball in America in the National League? Or the American?”
“Just a lucky catch,” I humbly replied, handing the ball back to him. “You speak excellent English. Where did you learn how to speak so well?”
“My father taught at the University. He began teaching me English as soon as I was born and able to talk. You look lost. Is there someplace I can help you find?”
I laughed and explained my search for the printing supply store.
“My name is Pedro. That shop is not far from here. You simply made one wrong turn. I’ll show you the way.”
He tossed the ball to his friends while grabbing his T-shirt.
We walked out of the alley and back a couple of streets and made another turn. I recognized the shops. “You have been an incredible help. How can I ever repay you?”
Pedro stared at my feet. “I will bring you good luck for the remainder of your trip, if you give me your shoes as a gift. I have always wanted a pair like yours.”
“Surely, I can repay you some other way.” My dress shoes were scuffed and in a bad need of a shine. And needless to say, far too large a fit for him. “Who are they for? Maybe a can buy a new pair instead.”
“No!” He stated emphatically. “I want a pair like those so my feet will grow to be as big as yours.”
“How about I buy you a new pair? There’s a shop across the street that sells new shoes.”
“Nope, it has to be yours.”
We walked across the street where I purchased a pair of Adidas tennis shoes for myself to wear on my way back to the hotel. He walked with me throughout the printing supply shop, very curious as to the nature of my purchases.
Pedro remained at my side until my shopping was completed. “I should go home now. My mother expects me home to teach my sisters how to read.”
I looked at Pedro fondly. He looked extremely awkward walking in my oversized shoes.
“But what about your father? Doesn’t he have time to teach them?”
“My father died five years ago during the political unrest.”
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Pablo Michaels writes LGBT fiction and has published with Naughty Nights Press, http://naughtynightspress.blogspot.com You can follow him at @bell2mike