Monument Valley at Sunset, Utah, USA — Karina Noriega
For nearly a decade, my dark tinted, thick framed Oakley’s have become a part of my face. I wore them everywhere I went, from down to the store to across the planet. Those sunglasses have dominated the foreground in nearly every photograph taken of me around the world. I even wonder if people would recognize me without my beloved Oakley’s. I love those sunglasses.
For a traveling nomad, my worldly possessions have come down to owning only what I can carry on my back. That minimalism creates certain bonds with particularly important items; like my passport and those really good underwear’s! You know the ones, they dry really fast and protect you from the awful humidity induced chaffing. (Travellers relate?) My Oakley’s, hair ties, pens that work and excellent shoes often make the list as well. I love those sunglasses.
My sunglasses didn’t just protect my eyes from harmful UV rays. Those glasses had blending powers! Due to the glorious colour of my skin, it’s not difficult for me to pass as a local in a multitude of cultures. That helped me move safer and unnoticed in many places where I could otherwise experience some harassment. I even got the local prices! (Not the inflated tourist rate.) That was only until I removed my sunglasses of course… or opened my mouth. Ha haha! I love those sunglasses.
In fact, I could not face parting with my Oakley’s despite the fact that the plastic frames would no longer stay fixed on my head and the lenses where irreparably scratched. Every time I turned my head, leaned over, or if the wind blew, I had to hold on to them, or new scratches would appear from repeated escapes. I hated those sunglasses!
This weekend – almost 10 years since they were gifted to me – while exploring terraced gardens over the mythical Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, my Oakley’s simply evaporated! Hours of searching yielded nothing. They truly vanished. It’s a mystery. I even applied superstition to the cause given the recent discovery of a sunken Mayan city below the lake – perhaps my very distant ancestors are telling me that time has come. My heart aches for the loss. My brain sensitively reminds me of the years now spent cursing those lenses.
I feel like I lost a part of my face. I have long hidden emotions like wonderment and fear behind the impenetrable darkness of my Oakley’s. Perhaps, it is time for a change.