I have a pair of very old shoes, now in pretty bad shape.
When they were young and just out of the box they were striking, top of the line, perhaps dreaming of a life on board a yacht, or at least on some sort of vessel, sailing through exotic seas. Perhaps the sea near their birth in the Charleston that I love so much. Then, as the years rolled by, far from any ocean, they instead started archiving memories for me. Memories of the family I once had and of the aspirations I had for us all; memories of the aspirations I had for our country, of the ones I had for our world. Of the ones I had for me.
The years have passed and many people, many places, many things I’ve loved are gone. Misplaced in some cases, perhaps wondering where I’ve vanished, beyond the veil in others. I now live on another continent, the one that saw my birth, in a beautiful city near the sky where snowcapped peaks greet me on sunny mornings, high in the central range of the Colombian Andes. A cycle seemingly renewed but now, again, seemingly awaiting a rebirth. But there are so many people and places I miss, parts of my heart and soul sprinkled far away in time and space. People and things gone long before their times. But, … is there ever a right time for things we love to leave us, … or we them?
Those shoes are old and broken down now, but I still wear them, if only in lieu of slippers at home. My sons are grown and drifted away. The family in which I placed so much hope has turned to mist. Almost as if it had all merely been a midsummer night’s dream. My aspirations are much less than merely unfulfilled, apparently further from fruition than ever. But still, they seem to be echoing in those old shoes that are beautiful to me still.
Misplaced is very different than lost and hope still lingers there. Hidden amidst bruised and battered old leather with wrinkles in the shape of the myriad memories and transitions they reflect.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2022; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.