Thump, thump, thump

by

My phone lit up in the corner from a text. The soft glow reminded me that my friends at home were texting me at 6 pm home-time. In Meknes it was 2 am and I was trying my hardest to cry as silently as possible in our dark room. Voices floated up to me from the street and through the window and I tried to focus on them instead of the ones I couldn’t forget. They kept playing over and over and over in my mind.

High, pre-pubescent voices. Cracking voices whose words crumbled from clumsy lips which weren’t used to English syllables. I didn’t want to hear them anymore. I didn’t want to see their faces in my head anymore. I didn’t want to feel their warm hands clutching mine anymore. I didn’t have the words to express my emotions verbally or written and so they’d just built up and up and up until they were escaping through my eyelashes.

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me with the “crowd”

The guilt I felt from being one of “those Americans” who just showed up and said hi, took some pictures in a crowd of brown orphans, then left… I felt guilt. I felt guilt. I feel guilt.

I imagine my own children some day. They are tanned little nuts; silly and beautiful. Their skin is smooth and hair long, dark, and glossy. They’re strong. They climb trees and bike down our tree-lined block covered head to toe in every kind of joint-protecting padding I can buy. They sing and swing my arms when they hold my hands. They call me Mama. They will be perfect.

I remember these children. They are brown just like mine will be. Their skin is flaky in some places, pink and glossy with scars in others. Some of them have short hair that grows in patches and they’re skinny; little for their age. They are so silly. They sing along with me as we waltz, waltz, waltz through the courtyard and they giggle because I hold their hand as we do so. They climb the walls of the concrete play yard and kick around a futbol for hours. We yell hello from atop the wall. We make new friends. One called me Mummy. It hurt. They held my hand. It hurt. They laid their heads on my shoulder. I hurt. They were perfect.

They aren’t mine but they made me feel. That sounds dumb but I don’t know how to describe heartbreak and joy in one word. Are there words for that?

I guess: love. We shared some love.image1

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