That last night as I stood looking over the night sky a sense that this moment would be special came to me. There are defining moments in life that we do not recognize at the outset, so cloaked are they in the veil of the ordinary. But their flavour lingers and their perfume settles on your soul to become a part of you, an enrichment of you, and a turning point for you. This time with Nena sat out over the rain-washed garden and looking up into the stars of La Ceiba with un tragito is one of the memories I treasure most from my short time in Honduras.
We spoke of life, of the love of country, of the power of womanhood. She asked me what was happening in my life and sat waiting as I spoke of my love of work. I do love my job and throw myself in. When that topic was exhausted she sat waiting some more, looking at me gently. Sensing no escape I went on, told her of my troubles, my struggle to recover from a few heavy blows in swift succession. I didn’t belabour or expand and in a few short sentences cut to the core. There was no need to embellish – Nena feels it as I do. “Trraicionera” she swore under her breath and as I finished she spat out “Mentiroso!”
“Aiii m’hija…” her advice to me was priceless and matter of fact. No need for dramatics. The power of her feelings came across without the theatre of flowery words. “Mejor soltera que mal acompañada, m’hija. Hay mujeres tracioneras en esta vida… y hombres mentirosos… interesadas en cada calle… ” She advised me for some time on the management of my friendships, the balance of my personal life and my work, and the part I can play in my family life.
She went on to tell me of her life, of her own deep love and the devastation of betrayal. She told me of her suffering, of her passion for her family and her city. I listened to the beautiful melody of her spanish and felt my own battery recharging as she continued on, great peace in her voice together with the quick-blood of life.
In life there are defining moments brought about by powerful colourful people. Not for my Nena the essence of insipid pastel yellow and baby blue. She is a woman of pulsing blood-red like her ginger lilies, the lush green of the life of her mountains, and the sharp, clear lightning of her intelligent mind.
Across Latin America there are peaks and valleys, love and pain, people of dominance and people of passion. My Nena is a mountain, plain as day. Never again will I apologise for feeling deeply, for speaking powerfully, for being all of me at full intensity. Never will I feel shame at being too much or too scary or too bold or too strong. There is a whole continent of people who feel as deeply as I do and do not fear to show it. It makes us dangerous when we want to be, strong when we need to be, and an ocean-depth full of love when the time comes for us to be.
This is who I am. And thank you Nena for encouraging me to be. To be me.