Single and Looking For A Mate

I often follow a trail that meanders 3.2 miles around a lake by my house. It’s a manmade lake, peppered by inlets of sand beaches and wooden boat docks that have gone to the birds—literally; the ducks have taken over the waterfront!
Last week on my walk, I started noticing a single flip-flop sandal here and there—out on the shore, in the middle of a patch of grass, next to a bench, or at the bottom of a slide. It wasn’t a pair of shoes, but rather a series of one flop without it’s flip.
The shoes varied one to the next, big ones, floral ones, Dora the Explorer ones.
I saw some with diamond sparkles and some that strapped to the ankle. There was a teeny-tiny red and blue foam one and one that could have fit Shaquille O’Neil.
I counted sixteen singular sandals along the trail as if a stampede of pedestrians had been forced to evacuate, each leaving a piece of their hurry behind. What was going on? Was there an enormous amount of single footed people living in my area? Or was it some sort of summer equivalent of an Easter egg hunt? I had no idea.
As I rounded the lake’s final bend, I saw a bench off the main path lined with shoes, and some had mates! A thin and tanned woman marched across a stretch of beach in front of me. She had gray hair spilling from her bucket hat and held a handful of flip-flops. She stood over the bench eyeing the cache with the ones she kept in her hand but did not make a match. She slid some shoes over and placed her latest find.
I nodded to the matchmaker. She didn’t respond—she was busy assembling finds with those that were lost, so I left her alone.
The whole way home I thought about this woman; who was she? What compelled her to collect orphaned shoes? I certainly wouldn’t have. In fact, I didn’t, although it wouldn’t have been hard to grab one and put it in a singular location to await its owner. Why didn’t I? What does that say about me?
It wasn’t until I got home that I thought about taking a photo of what I’d seen—what that was, I’m still unsure—but if you’re searching for your sole mate, check out Northshore Beach. Who knows, a lady in a white bucket hat with rivulets of gray spilling from underneath, may have found one for you! To point you to the right location is the least I can do.

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