Wednesday, February 4, 2009
He looked down with pride on his boots. They were dark, timeworn and beautiful. Their leather was supple, but it was durable too. These were good boots. The dust beneath the boots was pleasing as well. It was a deep copper, with swirls of black. Everything was striking this morning. Fog lay heavy over the road that he stood in. The sun had not yet decided to make its presence known; it hid somewhat bashfully behind thick, wizened clouds. He inhaled deeply into his lungs. The air tasted better today. It was like the world was scooting and sweeping obstacles from his path, bowing before him. Feeling like a king, he strolled down the dirt road. An old woman, who looked like she was little but wrinkles, stopped sweeping her porch and peered out at him. He cast a smile in her direction; it was returned with vigor. Everything felt good and right, like he was the protagonist in a famous romantic novel. Enemies would fall to shambles before his gaze; women would lay kisses on his cheeks. He smiled in apprehension for the day to come. But he felt this one would be different. His life was finally better, finally easier.
Now, like a bird, we look down upon this man, as if from the heavens. What hardships he had endured, what pain he had withstood. Perhaps it was now, finally, his turn for luck to fall on his shoulders. He was an orphan, a homeless boy. He lived in the countryside along pigs, feeding off scraps he found. A family took him in. He passed through primary school. He was a young adult now. His foster father beat him regularly. That man was an alcoholic. He was the only one of his friends to go to secondary school. He worked three jobs to pay for tuition. He has had no shoes for much of his life. He left his foster family and stayed in a tiny apartment in the city of his school. He barely made enough money. Sometimes, he did not eat dinner. He graduated secondary school. He signed up for college, and got a minor scholarship. He still worked three jobs, making as much money as he could. He only slept several hours each night, as his studies and his work kept him up. Upon graduation, his favorite professor gave him a pair of boots. He prized them as a trophy of achievement. He was manipulated over and over again as he tried to enter his field of study. But then, as he was close to giving up, another professor from college visited him, and offered him a job. It was a good job, a better job than many people in his village had. Today is his first day.
Again, like a bird, we shall swoop down to observe him. He looks confident, and sure of himself. He has been raised up, rather then broken down, by his experiences in life. He is still young. His life has been a tired one. But it is different now. We fly upwards, towards the heavens. There, on the horizon, the sun raises, naïve and happy to reveal itself from the protective clouds. It smiles like a child, and throws sun directly on that man below us. Like a halo, light swirls around him. We smile approvingly, in according pride over this man’s perseverance. This is no regular boy, but a unique man. Power exudes from the spring in his step. We glide forward, far forward, into his later life. There he sits, fattened, with a lovely wife that has grown old with him, and grandchildren around his feet. Ah! Hermes! What fortune have you given such a man! We should all be so lucky as to be rewarded thusly.
Standing before the door of his old professor, the man removes a cloth from his pocket and wipes the mud off his dark boots. These are good boots.