The Flip Flops
I was ten years old, and I was walking to school one day. It was but a ten minute walk, usually very uneventful. I was always surrounded by other people, we lived on a busy road, and on the same road as the school. Usually buses were zipping by, and parents were walking their children to school. My mom usually walked with me, but as I grew older, she had to commit to working longer hours, and my dad was always up early, and he would leave for his job before I woke. Once I was about nine, my mom would ask our neighbor to walk me to school, but by ten I was begging her to let me walk by myself.
“I’m ten now, Mama,” I’d whine. “I wanna walk by myself. I’m practically an adult!”
She eventually allowed this. She more than likely allowed it because there were always so many people walking, and in our small town, everyone knew everyone. Back then I felt like I was doing some big adult thing, walking to school by myself. Now, as a forty year old, I know that the whole town was looking out for me- as they did for all of the kids. If anyone had ever tried to kidnap me, or if I’d gotten hurt, somebody would have stepped in and helped. They would just know. I was also a responsible child, I never really did get into mischief.
That all changed one Thursday morning.
I left my house through the front door, I was all bundled up, a hat, gloves, my big, puffy winter jacket. It was about thirty degrees outside, the middle of December. I walked down the brick walkway next to the driveway, looking back on the white doors of the garage. As soon as I stepped out on the sidewalk, something felt off. There was nobody else walking to school! It was a Thursday!
I thought of it quite a bit, I wasn’t sure school was in session that day and I briefly thought about turning back and going back to bed. I continued on my lonely saunter down the road, staying vigilant for others walking. I was sure I’d left the house at the right time, and I was sure it was Thursday. Where was everyone?
About five minutes into my ten minute walk, the strangest thing happened. A single flip flop bounced off of my head, and rather hard, I’d say. It was a hard bonk on my head, but with a rather soft object, so not too much damage. It was a dark navy blue color, and made of that soft rubbery material, like the flip flops you can buy at Old Navy. I was confused beyond my means as a ten year old. Did it fall out of a tree? But there were no trees around. Did a bird drop it? Were there even birds out when it was this cold?
Standing there confused, just staring down at the flip flop on the ground in front of me, to my absolute astonishment, another fell, right in front of me. It just slapped the ground with a satisfying thud, staring back at me, emotionlessly, as flip flops usually are. I was staring and staring, and another fell. Then another, and another, and another. Flip flops kept falling out of the sky until they were piled high around me, at least a hundred flip flops surrounded me. How would I explain to my teacher why I was late? “Sorry, it was raining flip flops, I didn’t know what to do?”
I stood and stared for a little longer, and then I made a move to get around the unexplained pile of footwear. I had almost already accepted that there was no explanation for these shoes, and I was ready to move on from this strange experience. I took one step to the left, and I heard a voice from a place I couldn’t quite place.
“Uh, sorry kid, didn’t mean to drop my shoes on you.”
I looked around confusedly. There was a blinding light, and suddenly there was a figure standing before me. He had a hundred feet, all belled up with five toes a piece. He had ten arms, with five fingers a piece, and he had a body of a significant size, so large I couldn’t see his face. It seemed like his face was all the way up in the sky, the clouds blocking me from seeing his face. He began placing his shoes on his feet, all without bending down, he was using exquisite skill with these hundred legs to slide these flip flops in between his toes, and it all seemed to be a show so that I still wouldn’t be able to see his face. I looked at the massive man standing in front of me with astonishment, yearning to see his face. He got all the shoes on all his feet, and he said, “Not your time yet, kid. You’ll see my face when it is.”
With that he ascended to the clouds, I awoke warm under my covers, in my hat, gloves, and big, puffy winter coat,
That’s the story of the time I met God because he dropped his flip flops on my head when I was ten.