Waters of Connection

by

I didn’t know where to turn – I could feel the emotional pressure of a hundred young boys upon me, smiling and wanting to shake my hand, ask my name. Never before had I experienced such juxtaposing feelings, something like overwhelming joy and earth shattering sorrow. Beautiful, brilliant children with shaggy hair and beaming smiles and eager hands, wanting to hold my arm or grab my attention. Looking for love and acknowledgement of their existence.

Having always had an affinity for young girls, I scanned the courtyard, looking for a fellow female to strike up conversation with and run away from my awkwardness to. She sat on a bench about twenty feet away from me, watching the chaos with curious and shy eyes. I approached her, and seeing there was space to sit next to her, I sat.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Miram,” she responded, wide eyed yet fully engaged.

“What do you love to do, Miram?”

“Swimming.”

I smiled, and she smiled back. “Swimming is one of my favorite things too. I grew up next to the ocean and swam all the time.” And then there was connection.

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I asked if she wanted to walk around with me, and she nodded. Slowly we began to continue our conversation, her English impressively fluent, asking me questions in return as I inquired about her favorite subjects in school and what she wanted to be when she grew up. She loved English and reading novels, but she wanted to be a doctor. She wanted to perform surgery and save lives, but she didn’t like biology and learning about cell structure. And she certainly loved to swim.

Miram was thirteen and spoke three languages. She asked me if my red hair was natural, and I had to guiltily tell her no. We would laugh for no reason, her hand constantly on my forearm. And then I had to leave and tell her I wouldn’t be coming back tomorrow, and she still kissed me on both cheeks. Being present and showing up was the love I could give, and she saw that, and she loved me back.

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