Your shoes are carbon-gray, white laces and soles. I know this because, as you approach and sit next to me on the damp curb, stretching your legs out in front of you, I look at your shoes. The things you're about to say to me in tones heavy with understanding aren't what I want to hear at all. In faith, it's clear you aren't going to say these things out of malice, but I have the whole speech etched into my mind already, before the sounds escape your beautiful lips; know the reasons you'll give, the jokes you'll make, the coy sighs you'll offer. It has tumbled through me a dozen times over before this moment, pieced together, I suppose, from all that I know about you, which is, I think, more than others. And so when you start speaking, voice low and sweet and mean, I look at your shoes, the asphalt, the lamp post, anywhere but into your eyes.