The Dare

It was such a small matter.

He said, “I’m going to go check the mail.” Musing about his phrasing, he reached for his shoes. He was not “checking the mail,” he was getting the mail. Odd, they always said, “Check the mail.” Where had that originated?

She said, “I dare you to go like that.”

Stopping, he looked at her. “Like what?”

“In your socks.”

He thought a moment. “Without shoes?”

“Yes.”

“What will you give me?”

As she considered her answer, he considered the temperature. It was thirty-five, but it was dry. “Okay,” he said.

She grinned. “You’re an idjit.”

Yes, he agreed, without speaking, leaving the house. It felt odd to be in his socks, walking on the sidewalk and up the asphalt street, different from being barefoot. His feet seemed to make a different side.

The cats followed him, of course. He saw several neighbors, of course. He waved and nodded to them. He didn’t know if they noticed he was wearing socks but not shoes. What did it matter?

It was a small matter, but it felt so very good.

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