Two men in orange sneakers shuffle and hop down the street, dancing to music heard only in their heads. The choreography is spontaneous, their steps unmatched, but weaving around and through each other in an intricate harmony of rhythm. Joy flies off them like sparks and catches in my gut as I watch them pass my window every morning.

I think they must work at one of the factories down on the waterfront. Some days I picture them standing side by side on an assembly line, their orange-clad feet sending little shuffle-hop challenges back and forth as their hands move rhythmically among metal components. Other days I imagine them working on opposite ends of the factory, one of them working a drill, the other perhaps loading trucks, but both of them working out new bits of rhythm to share next time they dance.

By the time their shift has ended, by evening shift has begun, so I never see them going home. Likely they are weary and footsore by then, and plod along like the rest of us. But every once in a while, I hope, the spark lights in them again, and the orange sneakers do a quick shuffle-hop-step; the brightest things on those darkening streets.

The prompt I chose for today’s writing was simply to include two men in orange sneakers in whatever you wrote about. Well, what else could I have orange sneakers do but dance?

I often think about the nature of talent and passion, and how easily they can be suppressed. How many Baryshnikovs are building houses, how many Michael Jacksons are stuck in cubicles, simply because they have never been given a vision for what their lives could be?


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