The Same Boots

The headline says, “Nicaraguense Muere Atropellado” but they don’t give a name or show a face. There are policemen in the photo, a dented car, a man’s legs on the ground, cut off by the photo frame. There must be a thousand Nicaraguan men in this city and one of them failed to look both ways.  I start to turn the page and then I see the boots.

I feel my heart seize and the shock wave goes through me to my fingers and toes.

Those are his boots.
No, they’re not.
We bought them in the market in Rivas.
No, they’re not.

I look as hard as I can at the photograph. I hold it closer. I hold it farther away.

The buckles are different.
No, they’re not.
The strap is different.

The truth is I can’t really see the buckle or the strap.

“No identificado,” it says, “en Bajada Grande.”

Why would he have been in Bajada Grande?
It’s a free country.
He doesn’t even know anyone in Bajada Grande.
Those are his boots.

I would know. I didn’t want to buy them for him. They were so expensive; so much more than what he really needed. But he wanted them. He tried them on and said they were perfect. And they were really gorgeous black boots. They made him look sexier than ever. I wanted to say, “It’s too much, amor. This money is all I have and it seems like so much to you but it is nothing. Nothing. I have to get on a plane and fly away. I have to go places and do things and I’m not really your wife or even your girlfriend. I’m using you.” I bought him the boots.

I didn’t buy him those boots to die in them.
They’re not the same boots. They’re different.
You can’t prove they are.
You can’t prove they aren’t.

My God I never wanted to see him again. He stalked me, pursued me, terrified me. But I didn’t want him to die in the street atropellado with his boots on. I wanted him to wear the soles through dancing with girls young and beautiful as he.

Is he dead?
Is the city safe, now, for me?
Can I stop walking with my head down between bus stops?
Glancing over my shoulder to see I’m not being followed?

I am dizzy.

Say what you want, I know those boots.
They’re not the same boots.
Is he really gone? Am I safe now?
You’re paranoid.

I don’t know which voice I want to be right and which I want to be wrong.

All I know is that I know those boots.
They’re not the same boots.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “The Same Boots

    • Thank you so much for the encouragement, David. I really do take it to heart and it means a lot to me as I pretty much write in a vacuum. I did find out. About 12 years later. But you don’t want me to spoil it for you, do you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s