August, 2011 § Leave a comment
The cookies are almost gone! I only have crumbly remains left in the large Tupperware of oatmeal butterscotch.
I made some visits on the hill at Loma de Luz.
After reading for a long time, I went up the hill to Trish’s house because I always know a cold beverage and all the latest awaits me there. Trish gave me the low-down and I was slightly shocked that she-who-knows-all knew very little of my plans. That means I’m doing something right!
I made plans with Sammey to go get her new friend, Eryn, and Eryn’s little brother, Benton, to come down to the portón [gate-turned-cafeteria] and eat lunch with me. Trish and Brad were leaving for La Ceiba so Brad gave us a ride up the hill while Trish waited at the house so that the AC would be cool when he picked her up on his way back down. Priorities become defined here and luxury is shameless, bless her heart.
Shortly after greeting Benton and Eryn at the Aldens, Penny came charging through on her lunch break. As I filled her in on my plans for this visit, the topic of conversation turned to the school and things changed for me. She began explaining the needs and I felt myself tiptoeing out of the country. The needs are great and the workers few, it would seem. And, unfortunately, a proper foundation has not been built upon which we can start adding to. Renovation is the word of the year, I guess. It was during this conversation that I began planting the “six month” seed. I don’t know what has gotten into me.
After a very helpful talk with Penny, I gathered the troops, made other arrangements to get Diana’s computer to her, and started down the hill. Somehow we ended up with a party of about seven at the portón. Lo and behold, China was not there, only her son, Reynieri, and no food. We spent a long time begging, collaborating, and then pleading when Reynieri told us his mom will come back with more food to cook. We didn’t eat until 2pm.
After food, I called Diana and Mrs. Marinajo came to pick me up and bring me up the hill to see Diana. It was great to see an old friend who I owe so much for all my friendships bridged by my ability to speak Spanish. But who only wants to be repaid in friendship. She made me one of the best iced coffees I’ve ever had (the deadly heat probably helped it make the list) and we spoke about everything. My plans, her plans, what has been going on since I left, our love lives, mutual friends, their love lives… you get the picture.
While we were catching up, the sky was mixing a deceiving concoction. As we started down the hill (are you getting dizzy yet?) toward staff housing, I got a call from Christine saying we missed the 4:30 bus (an odd call to receive at 4:08 but… that’s life in Honduras). When I got to staff housing Christine and I decided to catch the last bus going out at 5:45pm, supposedly. We spent some time with Deibyn, Louis, and Hannah at staff housing while dark clouds covered the sun and made the air smell like rain. I figured I had better get my suitcase down the hill and to the gate before it gets soaked. Deibyn carried my big suitcase to the but stop for me and we waited… and waited… and waited.
As people made their way past the gate to get to fellowship, the sky started clearing up and clouds were outlined with golden sunshine. Down the dirt road I saw two young ladies start running toward us, giggling. I couldn’t believe my eyes when an adolescent Andrea and a baby-fatless Sameli started wrapping their arms around me. They’re not little girls anymore. I wondered if Andrea would still want to scramble up mango trees for me or jump endlessly on the trampoline laughing at nothing. Would this thinner, shapely version of Sameli be impressed still if I handed her dry beans as a prize for saying a verse in English? Maybe their childlike spirits will mature slower than their childlike bodies did. I hope so.
Seeing them brought back so many memories. Standing at that gate did, too. Memories of them, mostly. But in all I do here there is a trace of memories left behind by someone else. I haven’t been back to the Children’s Center yet, but I wonder how they get along without him. He was a stern older brother and playmate to them all.
Doña Nora had told me earlier while we were waiting for lunch that he left July 16th. She begged him not to go. He said he didn’t want to study anymore and would go back to his parents’ house. She said he had been drinking and doing drugs. Maybe the kids had lost their Alexander long before July 16th. Maybe they lost him when I did.
Delmy asked me last night if I think it’s my fault. I don’t blame myself at all but there is a part of me that wonders. Could I revive Alexander Pacheco? I know the answer is no but love sometimes makes us feel so powerful. It’s a false power, I know. But it seemed real.
I would give something small to have him walk me home again, to stand so close there’s negative space between us, to hold his hand, sit with him, go to the beach, a stolen look, a stolen kiss. I smell him here and it brings everything back as if it were yesterday.
I have no regrets with Alexander. More than my desire to be foolish again, I desire a love that is right and real. A touch that only outwardly signifies a much deeper intimacy and a kiss that demonstrates spiritual oneness. My passion with him was lovely but it was a child’s passion that dies over time.