Camille Pedraja

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Waiting for him to come home from the Sea

THE BROKEN SHOE: A BEDTIME MYTH –

“My grandfather always told me stories. I will never forget his favorite, the most fantastic he ever told.

‘Once upon a time there was a tall and strong young man who had a shoe. It was a shoe that, like every mortal creation, broke down on various occasions. With luck, he always fixed it and kept walking forward through the days of his youth.

One of those days, the young man fell in love. He was very happy. But before he could join his shoe with his girlfriend’s shoe, a big war broke out. An army of monsters threatened to rule humanity, and so the young man was called to battle.

He fought against scavenger birds, demons, and beasts from land and sea. He saved children and saved souls, but his heroic efforts broke his shoe. All around him were others with broken shoes, some who would never be able to fix them. Drowned in despair, he thought of his fiancée, of the life they might never have together. So he decided to send her his broken shoe, for surely if anyone could repair it, it would be her.

While the package and its content traveled to its destiny, the young man continued to fight the monsters of darkness, and after many adventures, he finally sailed home on a ship. There he found his fiancée.  Their happiness was immense and they shared stories of how life had treated them during their separation.

The young man asked her if she had received the package he had sent. She shook her head sadly. They had barely finished discussing this when they spotted something floating in nearby sea and fished it out. They couldn’t believe their eyes. It was the lost package.

Where had it been? How had it gotten there? It was a mystery, but deep down they knew it was meant to be. They opened the package and the fiancée fixed the young warrior’s shoe and they lived happily ever after.’

My grandfather swore it was a true story, and I believed him all my childhood until maturity opened my eyes, and I couldn’t believe his tale any longer. However, my grandfather always insisted on the veracity of his story.

After his death, I was devastated. I thought of the times that would never come back, all the things I didn’t know about him. I scolded myself for having listened to his stories instead of asking him about his life and his past. My anger turned against the fairytale that clouded the real events.

When I had my own children, I began to see it with new eyes and a new heart. My grandfather had shared with me the most important experience of his life by transforming it in a way that could amuse a child but still carry a more precious meaning.

My grandfather never was a person of muscle, but that’s how he described his intellect. I learned that the shoe was his heart, and that it gets broken sometimes, with the hope that it can be fixed by a special someone. The war and the monsters? It was a real war, one that broke the hearts of many, including my grandfather’s. In the story, he sent his heart to his fiancée in a poetic way. It was the only proof of love that war can’t tear apart. When he returned home, together they found the lost package. This was the evidence that soul mates always meet half way, no matter the circumstances.

My grandfather’s story taught me, that the mutual discovery of the lost package meant that the heart goes with whoever carries it, and that while our body fights its own battles; the heart fights its own. In the end, heart and body meet in sweet communion.

It was then that I realized that the story was true after all, and that it wasn’t just my

grandfather’s life but a lesson to understand Life better, to take care of our shoes and that of our peers.

One day I was helping my grandmother organize some of her old possessions. She smiled at me and showed me a box, a very old, wrinkly box holding the sole of a broken shoe.

Now I can show my children important life lessons dressed up as amazing stories they will never forget. I make up my own fantasies, and when they ask me where do they come from, I answer: “Ah, it all started with my grandfather’s shoe and the lost package…”

A beautiful story…

 

9 Comments

  1. What an amazing and touching love story-grandchildren love as well as a couple’s love. With all respect, I believe that behind every story your grandfather narrated there was a moral lesson with it. Great job with your writing!

  2. Great story. Although it was recited for a child to understand it is extremely deep. It puts a common perspective on war, where we see our enemies, not as human beings but as monsters. After the war is over for many this ideal is amplified because of negative memories. It was also romantic in how it used the shoe box to signify fate between the two lovers.

  3. Amaizing story, oh our grandparent’s stories, a world that we never knew but we can imagine. this was a sentimental story but the messege was beatifull.

  4. Your story is very touching. I will forever wonder what really happened, was it a metaphor? or did he really send her the shoe? haha thank you for sharing this 🙂

  5. This was truthfully beautiful. It is wonderful that this man found such a creative way to tell his story and at the same time deliver a beautiful message.

  6. I found this to be very sentimental indeed. Amazing stories like this should always be told to the next generation of family members, it is very important that lessons like this can be passed down in a creative way.

  7. I see. So your grandfather is responsible for your passion for literature. He’d be so proud, as we all are. Not only a lovely story, but also a precise selection of words. I’m all teary…

  8. Muy linda la historia mi Camila.

  9. beautiful story my love, u make me cry

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