“Oof, can you believe how hot it is out there?” My roommate posed this question immediately after getting back from class and shucking off most of his clothes. He started stretching his legs out on his desk while facing me.
“Damn dude, it must have been, you’ve never reeked like this. You gotta put those things away or take a shower, you’re gonna kill me otherwise.”
Chuckling, he admitted, “We wouldn’t want that. You’re a great roommie, you don’t complain when I work out in the dorm like my last roommate did, and since you love to cook, you’re always making dinner for us. There’s no way I’d land another perfect roommie like you.” With that he picked up his sweat-soaked socks, got up, and walking backwards toward the bathroom flung his socks toward the hamper we both kept toward the back of the dorm room. He overshot and instead of getting it in the hamper, it landed on the pillows on my bed before sliding off onto the bed.
“Okay, seriously, dude?” I WAS annoyed, but a smile still crept across my face.
“Hey, man, we all have off days, what’s one wrong shot in the midst of a thousand right ones?”
“Okay Mr. Jr Philosophy, but can you get your sock off my bed?” I quipped back, rolling my eyes.
“That’s Mr. Philophosy to you. And sure, bro, if you want me to rub all my sweat on your pillows while I’m at it. Grind my pits all up on ‘em! May not even need a shower after using your pillows to get up all this shit!” He started flexing while talking and could barely finish what he was saying, he was laughing so hard at his idea of a joke.
“Yeah, uh, never mind then, I’m good.” I tried to sound irritated, but while it wasn’t all that funny, his sense of humor did always get a smile on my face.
“Anyway, bro, after my shower lets hit the diner, I’m fucking starving man!” Before I could even respond, he had entered the bathroom and closed the door. I still had a bit of work to do, but I was, admittedly, pretty hungry, so I quickly turned back toward my laptop and got back to work trying to quickly finish up my homework before leaving.
Thirty minutes later and we had ourselves a table at the diner and some of their food. It wasn’t much, but I wasn’t going shopping for groceries until tomorrow, so this was what we had to get for tonight.
“Bro, I know I mentioned earlier how you’re perfect and all because you make me dinner, but like, I’m always reminded of just how perfect you are when I have to eat this shit.” This is what he said, but his actions, specifically the fact that he was scarfing down his food like it was the best damn meal in the world might tell outsiders otherwise.
But I knew Riley. Scarfing down food to others might symbolizing enjoying the food, but Riley’s appetite was, unfortunately for him, matched by his refined taste for food. If he didn’t like it, he would scarf it down as quickly as possible to avoid having to actually taste the food. I learned this the first time I made dinner for us both. It wasn’t anything special and there were a few hiccups due to that being my first time operating in a new kitchen, but when I saw how slow he was eating, I was afraid he didn’t like it and was just trying to be polite. But thirty minutes later, after trying to focus on something else to distract me from being embarrassed, he came asking me for seconds, and potentially thirds. I happily obliged, but asked him why he ate so slow, to which he revealed to me how much he loves a good meal. I never felt I was anything special, but Riley always new how to compliment me in just the right spots, picking up on things I was sure nobody would notice or telling me how my food is practically gourmet. It didn’t provide an ego boost so much as it simply made me want to cook for him even more. But groceries being what they are, are not something I’m able to afford for every day of the week.
“I’m glad you like my food,” I chuckled, “I’ll be sure to make something extra good for tomorrow.”
“Dude, everything you make is at least extra good, if not better. We just need a way to get you making food every night. I know we’ve talked about the costs before, but there’s gotta be a way.” He pleaded, making puppy dog eyes. “My stomach would be eternally grateful to you.”
It would be pretty hard, but if I planned my meals almost entirely around sale items, I might manage to scrounge up enough for the entire week. Damn, there was just something about him that made it so hard to say no, but he never abused that so it hasn’t ever been a problem. “I’ll try, but then you run the risk of the food not being as good or—“
Before I could even finish he cut me off, “Anything you make will be amazing, dude, you’re a fucking genius in the kitchen. You have no idea how glad I am that I’ll finally be able to eat real food again everyday.” He was really just working me dry here with the expectations, but again it was hard to say no to him. “Anyway, bro, I got some homework that needs finishing, but there are some parts that I’m struggling with. Do you mind helping me out?” Finishing the last of my food I nodded and got ready to leave. Like I said, there was just something about him and I couldn’t say no.
By the time I finished helping him with his homework it was already well past 11pm, and since I had some early classes and some grocery shopping to do I immediately showered after making sure he didn’t need my help anymore. Today had been such a long day, thankfully I avoided most of the heat since my classes ended before it reached its peak, but I was still worn out. After brushing my teeth, I practically collapsed on to my bed. And unlike any other time before, I immediately fell asleep.
That night I had some pretty strange dreams. I was really stressed over perfecting a meal and when I finished it, I went through a whole process of plating it to look as perfect as possible. When I finished, I brought it over to Riley, for some reason on my hands and knees. When I got to him, he looked it over scrutinizingly before taking it and praising me, “Good job, boy(?)” I couldn’t tell if he said bro or boy, I don’t know why he would say the latter although that’s what it sounded more like. “While I take care of this, why don’t you chew on this for me?” And before I could react his socked foot was shoved in my mouth. After that, the dream devolved into the sensation of chewing, chewing on his socks. They were salty, warm, and moist. I know normally I’d be disgusted but in this dreamscape it was meant to be praise from Riley and so I felt... proud? Then the chewing was accompanied by stifled laughter and slowly, it became more solid and more real until I opened my eyes and saw my roommate watching me from his bed laughing his ass off.
“Whmnf?” I tried speaking only to finally realize I had something in my mouth. Pulling it out, I realized, to my horror, why my dream had been so weird. It was revealed that I actually had been chewing on his socks, the ones he had thrown onto my bed that I had forgotten, until now that is.
“Dude, that is so fucking sick!” My own realization of the situation only seemed to prompt increased laughter from Riley.
“What the hell dude? How long was that shit in my mouth? Why didn’t you do something?!” I was angry, but more than that I was embarrassed, I could feel my face flush and felt light-headed.
“Calm down, bro. It’s not that big of a deal. I got up an hour ago to work out, and after getting dressed, I saw you had that shit by your face and then all of a sudden you just stuck it in your mouth and started sucking the hell out of it.”
“Wh-“ I couldn’t even find the words to respond. “Why didn’t you do anything?”
“I thought you would have woken yourself up, dude. I mean, you saw how fuckin’ sweaty I was yesterday. I was sure you were gonna spit that shit out and start dry-heaving. But nope, you honestly looked like you were enjoying it. May have even heard a few moans.” I knew he was joking, but the humiliation was getting to a point that I couldn’t bear.
“Anyway, I’m going to go make some breakfast.” I huffed, shutting the conversation down.
“C’mon dude, you know me, and you know I’m joking. We both know I’m not the kind of guy to take shit like that seriously. Just calm down, dude, it’s really no biggie.” His words felt very sincere, and while he could have a crass sense of humor, I DID know that he wasn’t the type of guy to take anything like that beyond a joke. Regardless, I could still feel the sting of humiliation, something I think he could sense. “Let’s just make things even then, how about that? It was awkward for you to wake up like that, so I’ll say something awkward about me and then we’ll be even!”
“I don’t think that’s how that works—“ I interjected, but my cut-off was subsequently cut-off by him.
“All that may have happened by chance, but I did find it kind of hot. I mean let’s just take you out of the picture and pretend there’s just a blank slate where you are. The idea of someone sucking on my sweaty socks? That’s fuckin’ sick, but like, kinda hot too. Like I know a lot of guys won’t admit it, but foot rubs fuckin’ turn me on and that’s like taking it a step further. Y’know? I mean I’m sick for thinking that. But like I said, this is all about a blank slate and about how I’m pretty sick too.” This is about a blank slate, he said, but I was the one who put that idea in his head, even if by chance. I got what he was doing, but it just made me feel more humiliated. Like he somehow he knew the dream I had. “Anyway, bro, I’ll have whatever you’re making. I had just sat down to see how long you were gonna last on that thing, still got my morning run to finish.” With that, he headed out the door.
I started making breakfast, nothing too extravagant, but it was something I had been saving for more of a special occasion. They were breakfast griddles, which happened to be one of my favorite breakfast foods, they also happened to be one of Riley’s favorites as well. He always nagged me on when I would make them, and since I used the same ingedients for other meals, it wasn’t a matter of making them before they went bad, just a matter of making them when I needed more of a pick-me up, and boy did I need that today.
As I was cooking the griddle, I couldn’t help but think back to my dream last night. It was so surreal, I know dreams typically are, but they are always grounded in a way that separates them from reality. Like even when you can’t necessarily tell that you’re dreaming, everything still feels hazy in them. But not last night, as bizarre as it was, it felt grounded in reality, it felt like it was really happening. Riley naturally has a pretty lean build, he’s not overly muscular, so when he wears long-sleeved shirts and jeans, he doesn’t necessarily look as fit as he is. But from experience watching him workout and seeing him shirtless quite a bit, I knew just how much muscle his lean build hid. Unlike him, I didn’t have practically any muscle. Thankfully my metabolism never really slowed, and so it’s helped me maintain a good weight, but I’ve never been much of an athlete or a gym junkie, so while I haven’t been chubby, I also haven’t been very toned. This dream played off of that notion, I remember feeling so small and weak compared to him, like if I failed to please him, he could have easily stepped on and crushed me instead. And then there was the focal point of the dream: his feet. I knew for a fact that his feet weren’t massive, but still pretty big at size 13 compared to my size 9. But in that dream, I remember that although he shoved all five of his socked toes in my mouth, they had to stretch it beyond what it’s realistically capable of. One foot of his had easily been as wide as my head, not to mention longer. Meaning he easily could have covered my entire face with just one foot. With two... well, if he had done that, I think I would have been in a position where I never could have gotten out. But then I remember feeling so proud when he rewarded me by letting me suck and chew on his sweaty socked feet. Would I have even wanted to get out from beneath his feet?
I suddenly felt so disgusted by myself for thinking these thoughts that I was instantly knocked back into reality to find I had been so distracted I had burned the first set of griddles. “Shit,” I muttered. I had just enough before for both of us, but I cooked them in two batches that had enough for each person per batch. Which meant now I only had enough for us to each get half the normal amount. I sighed, dumping the burned batch into the trash bin and started the next batch. This time I wasn’t going to take my eyes off of them or let my mind wander anywhere. If I had to keep a laser focus to make sure they got done, then I would and I’d make sure they were damn near pearfect while I was at it.
And perfect they were. I felt pretty good with how well they turned out and could honestly feel my mouth water just looking at them. I moved them on to a single plate, and grabbed the now unused plate, tucking it under my arm and made my way back to our room.
When I got back, Riley was already back, but seeing as he was still taking off his shoes, I would have guessed he’d only just got back.
“Holy shit dude, that looks fucking amazing!” I could already see him drooling. “You’ve really outdone yourself this time, I swear you could get famous off of your cooking. But if that happened, I wouldn’t have you all to myself anymore. So on second thought, let’s keep you my little secret.” He had a big ass grin across his face as I placed the plate down on his dresser. Finally noticing only one plate of food instead of two, he asked, “what happened, man? Did we only have enough stuff for one batch of these? Or did you decide you weren’t hungry? I mean I’m not complaining, you know I could eat these all day.” He started peeling off his socks, and out came a big waft of his foot funk, and I suddenly felt extremely light-headed, not in a sick-way but just, like I needed to sit down. Before I even responded he already started digging in to the first one. “You are a fucking mad man!” He brought his foot up to my shoulder and lightly shoved me, it was meant to be a gesture of praise but with how fatigued I suddenly felt, it was enough to knock me back quite a ways. Thankfully I regained my balance and promptly sat on my bed to prevent actually falling over. “Sorry man, I didn’t think I did it that hard. It was just that these are so fucking good, I need you to write down the steps or something because this is how I’d like ‘em all the time. But I didn’t mean to actually shove you.”
“No, no, you’re good. I actually am feeling a little under the weather. Once I got to the kitchen, I wasn’t sure I really wanted anything anymore, but you mentioned wanting something and I know how much you love these, so I decided to make them.” It was a half-lie. I wasn’t hungry anymore, but either way it didn’t matter. At least that solved the matter of only making one batch.
“Don’t think you feeling bad is side effect of this morning, eh? Or maybe that’s why these turned out so good?” My face flushed red again as he burst with laughter, “If that is the reason these are so good, you better watch out because I may try to sneak a few more socks into your mouth, or do you think if I do it with my bare feet these might taste even better?”
This was still embarrassing, but I was somehow getting used to it, and without thinking I quipped back “I guess we’ll have to find out.” I could not believe I just said that. Again, my mouth seemed completely disconnected from my brain, running on auto-pilot because I followed up with: “And did you mean doing that before cooking or now?” I almost slapped myself I sounded so fucking stupid! Not only did I basically just tell him to now purposefully repeat this morning but with his bare feet, I insinuated the potential to fucking do that right now!
“I never knew you were this sick, dude. I mean come on, my feet are really fucking sweaty and dirty, and I know you can smell that rank shit. Did my sock sweat jumble up some of your brain cells? You’ve never acted like this before.”
His quizzical stare seemed to bore straight into my soul, and like a complete fucking idiot I replied: “I mean, again, there’s only one way to find out.” As soon as those words left my lips I got up and left. I could not believe I just told him to stuff his sweaty socks in my mouth to see if it would affect how I acted. What made that even more embarrassing was the fact that the answer was pretty clear: it did.
I went to my classes for the day, thankfully none of the lectures were very note-heavy because I hadn’t brought anything since I left so abruptly. I got something to eat from the diner before heading to the grocery story. I scanned the aisles for sale items and noticed a few things. But I wasn’t really feeling them. Then I noticed that they were having a sale on ground beef, buy two get one free. One of Riley’s favorite dinners was meatloaf covered in a sauce made from ketchup, dijon, and mayo, served with mashed potatoes and stuffing. I grabbed three of the ground beef and headed around the store collecting the other ingredients, this would be enough for three days of the week. Then I grabbed some sale items along with a couple eggs for omelettes, another dish ranked highly on Riley’s favorite food list. I went to check out and felt my eyes widen when I saw the price. I got so many sale items but it was still way more than what I normally pay for groceries, and Riley wasn’t here to split the bill. Getting all of this would really crack into the money I’ve been saving, but I decided to go on and get it, remembering how excited he looked last night. The events from earlier today slipped to the back of my mind and all I was focused on was how happy Riley was going to be when I brought out his dinner.
After I got back to our dorm room, I noticed he was still out. He didn’t have any evening classes, so he must be working out, only so much he can do with the equipment that can fit in our room. As I brought the ingredients for the food into the kitchen a thought slipped into my mind about how hot it was again today. I don’t know why I thought of that, but it slipped back out as discretely as it slipped in as I got laser focused for the dinner I was about to make. I wanted it to be sheer perfection.
Fifty minutes later, and while I was never an ego maniac, I daresay sheer perfection was what I had achieved. God, maybe his socks did do something to improve my cooking, I thought. Laughing to myself, I followed that thought with another: only one way to find out.
Walking back to the dorm room, my heart was thumping. I don’t know why but I felt suddenly very nervous about what I made, it was incredible... but I was still worried about whether it was enough. As I entered the room, I could tell that he was back, again seemingly just so, as he was about to unlace his shoes, but stopped when I came in.
“I know it’s your favorite, and so when I saw it at the store I knew I had to get it.” I explained as I presented dinner to him. I don’t know why, but my auto-pilot mouth left out the part about it being on sale, perhaps to try and not diminish the idea of the thought that went into picking out the meal.
He was silent for a couple seconds, but he was smiling, so I assumed it wasn’t because something was wrong. “Honestly, I have never seen anything more perfect. I mean, jokes aside, your food has always been incredible but today your cooking has been on another level. And to top it off, you’ve made both of my favorite things for breakfast and dinner. I mean this as sincerely as possible, but like whatever lead to you doing this, it needs to keep up.” I felt a swell of pride with each word he said. I never knew just how good it felt to be praised by him.
“Honestly, while today had a really weird start... and well other weird parts that followed, I agree that I’ve never cooked like this before and it makes me really happy to see you enjoying it so much. Whatever it is, I would say that I hope it continues as well.” While on the surface, it was me simply agreeing with him, there was a certain admission beneath the surface to myself. Admitting that there was something that had changed within me these past twenty-four hours, and admitting that I... liked these changes, and I wanted them to continue.
Riley moved to get more comfortable and then remembered he still had his shoes on. He moved to put the plate down, but quick on my feet, I interjected and offered to take his shoes off for him. “You would not believe the workout I had. I was about to let these bad boys get some fresh air when you came in with that food and that was all I could think about, but now it’s time to relax with this incredible food and I can’t do that with these shoes on.”
I slipped off his first shoe, and the sudden assault on my nose sent a shock through my senses. “I can imagine, I noticed it was a really hot day again, might’ve even been worse than yesterday.” I slipped off his other shoe and with the second wave of foot funk, felt my brain turn to mush. “Might as well take these socks off too, then these bad boys will really get to relax and air out.”
I began peeling off his first sock and suddenly felt the wave of sweat and musk somehow grow even stronger. He then finally pointed out something I don’t think I was even aware of. “Did you not make anything for yourself?”
I peeled of his second sock as I answered, “I wanted to make sure everything turned out perfectly for you and I guess I forgot to make something for myself at some point.” There was no longer any filter for what I said. I spoke the brutally honest and humiliating truth. With both socks off, I chucked them behind me, not aiming for the hamper, but just beyond that, and with the soft pat that accompanied their landing I knew they hit their target, my pillow.
I rested my hands mindlessly on his feet. They felt so big and warm and sweaty. They felt so powerful. I began lightly rubbing his soles. “Come on, I’m fine with you putting me before yourself, but if you don’t eat, how do you expect to keep this up?” He chided me, “But I suppose this does work out in a way. After eating some of my dinner, I can say that it’s almost perfect, but it is missing something. And y’know, earlier you mentioned that the food might taste better if I ate it with you sucking on my toes and licking my soles, you also said that we’d find out... So let’s find out.”
He wiggled his meaty, sweaty toes and without a doubt I could say that what I made may look like the most delicious thing to many people, but his sweaty feet, dusted in dirt were the only things I was craving. “I do appreciate you working so hard on this dinner for me,” he said, inching his feet closer to my face, “I hope you also appreciate the work I put into your dinner.” With that, I began sliding my tongue between his toes, I planned to show him how much I appreciated him and his feet. “Oof, it seems you were on to something,” he sighed smashing his feet into my face as he slid down and relaxed more. “Now THIS is fucking perfect. Don’t worry, we’ll test to determine if you sleeping with my toes in your mouth helps you as well, but you were on to something with suggesting this... foot worship, while I eat. We’ll have to make this an everyday thing. Now then, keep cleaning my feet, and once they’re clean you can take care of my pits.”
“Thank you!” I exclaimed. He looked so relaxed and so happy. With his dirty, sweaty bare feet now covering my face as I licked them clean, I thought back on how this all came to be. It seems like it should have been an impossibility. For this day to come to this result after how it started required so many specific choices, it just shouldn’t have been possible. Maybe I always had this desire in me and I never knew it, but the chances of his socks landing on my pillow and me forgetting? And not only me sucking on those socks, but him noticing? It all just seems too impossible. But as I see his smiling, relaxed face between his toes, it doesn’t matter. He’s happy and loves me worshipping him, and I’m happy and love worshipping him. So even if it should have been impossible, I am immeasurably happy that it wasn’t.
This was where I belonged, beneath his sweaty feet, licking them clean after a long day.