"An Angel Gave me Sandals"


A friend of mine from Cambodia posted this picture on his Facebook page. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and my imagination took wings. I have seen so many children like this one in different parts of the world, I had to write a caption, which turned into a paragraph, then a story. Now you have this. I hope it will move you to action on behalf of the poorest of the poor starting where you live and extending around the world.

He came out of nowhere; like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was there.

He bent his white frame and gently put his sandals before my feet. He got so close to me I could smell him. He smelled of freshly cooked meats, and clothes that had just been washed and pressed with perfection. His smell reminded me of my mom and I immediately started to cry. I cried for a world taken from me when she was suddenly gone, and I cried for fear that this nice stranger was just another wolf in sheep’s clothes.

Since he came out of nowhere; like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was there. 

I was orphaned and barefooted since I was eight. Now 11, I no longer cared. My feet had a tough exterior that only the most destitute have. I could not walk on water but I could run on uneven roads, melted asphalt, dump sites littered with glass and just about any other surface the rich and powerful didn’t know existed. My feet had discovered new lands and tested the limits of human resistance to foreign agents. Covering them now would probably endanger my life, not save it. Still, I craved for cleanliness and he seemed so nice.

For he came out of nowhere; like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was there.

I looked at my tattered dress. It smelled of railroads tracks, broken bottles and discarded dinners. Next to him I was like trash. No one would wish to approach me but this stranger did. I don’t know where he came from but he was not from my world. His clothes were nice and his hair nicely trimmed. I wanted to touch his white hair but didn’t feel worthy. How could I? He looked like he could be boarding a plane any time; I looked like I could be snatched by vultures any moment, so I didn’t risk it.

But he came out of nowhere; like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was there. 

Instead of moving, though, he stayed there, beckoning me to accept his gift. I dared not. I couldn’t repay him. I couldn’t even give him a smile for those had been gone for a while. So I stood there, crying, hoping he would vanish the same way he came. But his bent frame didn’t move. His mouth now moved and made some gibberish sounds. His words almost made me laugh but they also convinced me of his sincerity, so I bent down and accepted his gift. And suddenly those sandals gave me wings.

Mounted on shoes two sizes my size I walked away feeling clean and happy for the first time since my mom left this earth. 

And like an angel from the air, I turned around and he was no longer there. 

Ivanildo C. Trindade

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