A tear for your love… a tear I will forever cry…

So many bolero, so many tears.  The latin world is awash with them and each one has its home in truth.

Today I met two little boys.  One is two years old and silent, his brown hair cut like a bowl and his eyes big and rich cups of café con leche.  Monkey tried to draw him out to play with her blocks and her toys but he wouldn’t move.  He wouldn’t come to me when I tried to tempt him from his grandmother’s knees into my warm jacket despite obviously being quite cold there in Nena’s living room.  His older brother is four years old, protective and independent.  His will be a very big job and already he has assumed some of the manhood he has inherited in tragedy.

Four weeks ago these little boys bore witness to their father’s murder.

He was twenty-seven years old and a hard worker.  He was so hard a worker in fact that he had begun to taste the illusive flavours of success.  He drove a new car and bought property out in the country in a town where a sister of his lived.  She was warned to tell him not to come out to the land but he didn’t get the message in time.  His mother recounts to me the story of her grief.

On the day he died he took his wife and two children together with his father and cousin to the land.  They worked from early in the morning until about 3 o’clock in the afternoon.  Bunches of bananas were cut and crops of all kinds readied to load into the vehicle.  The family was sat on a blanket spread in the field eating when one by one men appeared from out of the brush surrounding them.  They numbered around 30 and the first to speak said “we mean you no harm”.

“No, no, no, no, NO” protested a man from the outer edge of the circle.  He elbowed his way in toward the family and the woman would remember that his eyes were red with blood.  “You are ALL going to die today.  Because I am huuunngrry to kill.”

The woman held her children to her tight and the men were trapped where they had been sitting, more than twenty automatic weapons trained on them.  The killers wrested the little boys from their mothers’ arms and held her back.  Their father went ballistic, struggling to his feet screaming “Leave my children alone!”

The man of the red eyes said to him with a nasty smile “Because you cannot behave yourself, you will be the first to die.”

The killing began and three men lay dead when it was over.   The father died in horror and fear believing his family too would be killed.  When the shooting stopped suddenly there was an eerie silence and the deafness of guns shot too close.  The returning birds, skittish with their own fright, would behold the sight of two boys, aged two and four, clinging to the bloody corpse of their father as their mother held him in her arms helpless.  Finding no fun in the prey of a distraught mother and two young children, the killers moved on to the car, sitting in it, opening the hood and going over it like a prospective purchase, their laughter ringing out to meet the hesitant renewed birdsong.  Weapons slung easily over shoulders now, AK47s and pistols.  The dead man’s gun was propped, useless, against a tree far away from the killing circle, where it would be found later by investigators.

“Una lágrima por tu amor… Una lágrima lloraré” ~A random bolero on the radio the day I was told this story.

When the police arrived to collect the bodies, they were met with enemy fire.  One officer fell that day, leaving another woman widowed and more boys orphaned.  It would take seven truck loads of police and security officers to reclaim the bodies of the four men who had only hours been fathers, loving and hot-blooded, the fierce protectors of their children.

As the grief-stricken grandmother recounted these atrocities in Spanish, repeating parts I did not understand in English, Nena wept, her own tragedies forgotten.  The youngest boy with the coffee eyes would not leave the grandmother’s familiar knees.  I looked on the beautiful child and saw a story too often true.

Just Friday night a young doctor was killed outside a discotheque in Tegucigalpa.  He was from La Ceiba and visiting for the graduation of his younger sister in the nation’s capital.  In San Pedro that same night a friend of my family too was gunned down.  Then there was the cousin a few years ago who was kidnapped by the gardener and murdered, another who was assassinated on the highway, and still another that was murdered on his boat on the high seas.

This is a land where tears are shed and moments of life are treasured, guns are in pretty handbags and waistbands and life taken for cheap.  It is the land of beautiful orchids, fierce faith and delicious food, the power of friendship and the orphans of tragedy.

The four year-old with a growing gravity to his carriage told his grandmother days before our visit “Nana, I know my Daddy isn’t coming back.  I know where he is sleeping.  Don’t worry Nana, I understand that his body is here asleep but his heart is with God.”

Advertisements

2. The Power of Each Other

 She is my friend. She’s my family. My insides. She will be fine because she has to be fine. That’s how important she is to me. ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

We all sat around the table with one of my girlfriends at the head.  She would instruct us, training our noses and our taste buds.  The spread was gorgeous – cheeses of all kinds white and yellow, some with blue veins, lush grapes, creamy humus, toasted pita, spanish tortilla, and twenty elegant island women comfortable in linen slacks and summer dresses.  Two wine glasses were at each place – one for the whites we would taste first and another for the bold reds.

The energy of the room could be seen as a glow throughout the district.  Power pulsing from each woman combined in the vibrant room in flavours of family and friendship, sitting on the house like a heralding star.  There were sisters, cousins, girlfriends, mothers, aunts, grandmothers.  There were matriarchs with manchego and shrimp and adolescents with coca cola in their glasses.  English and spanish would alternate throughout the room with white and red wine.  Stories were shared, wisdom imparted, updates given and scarlet jokes teased out of the most unexpected places.

It was as if these ladies know what I had intended to write about today:  A woman without girlfriends is a lost soul cut adrift without an anchor.

In going through the circles of love formed around a woman there will grow an understanding that she meets the varied needs of many.  What is not visible in this picture, however, are her varied needs and how they are met.  She is a complex, multi-faceted, interesting and unique being.  No one person can meet all her needs.  She has many passions and many contexts, plays many roles in the lives of others.  In her own story there are also many roles, a full cast of interesting people who play a part in her own life.  Of all the people she chooses to populate her stage perhaps the most underestimated cast members are her girlfriends.

No matter who broke your heart, or how long it takes to heal, you’ll never get through it without your friends. ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

It is a common tragedy – the woman newly divorced finds herself in a place she does not recognize and did not anticipate ever visiting.  From the day of her wedding, if not sometime before, she has devoted herself to her husbands’ needs, desires, soothed his ego and raised his children.  Her bridesmaids on that day of flowers, lace and vows, would have known standing pretty in pink satin that they were losing her, handing her over.  Even with the best of her intentions Saturday morning breakfast dates would give way to his laundry and Thursday night karaoke would be traded in for cooking him dinner.  She would play the role blissfully unaware for a time and all would be right in her shrinking world.

And then the day of parting.  The feeling of failure, the complete rending of her world into two parts of his and hers, and the stifling silence and isolation that follows.  She probably hasn’t seen her bridesmaids in months.  They probably followed her lead into their own shrinking worlds of domestic conformity.  She is in a desolate place, an isolation that she helped to create.

Should the story end there?  Could this have been avoided?  Does she always have to start from scratch?  The moral – Girlfriends do not lose their importance when a man enters your life.  They are just as important.  Whose shoulder will you cry on when he fails?  And let’s face it, he is human, he will fail.  Who will advise her on the ins and outs of men and women?  With whom will she share the things that only women understand?

Maybe our girlfriends are our soul mates and guys are just people to have fun with.
~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City

I am convinced that fewer marriages would fail if the woman had maintained relationships with her girlfriends.  She would need less from her man, demand less of him, he would feel less pressured by her.  And sure, there is the potential benefit of keeping him on his toes a little with the knowledge that she can make it on her own without him.  Why should a relationship with him be the only one she has?

[CAVEAT – I am only a casual bystander to marriage and able only to jump on a theoretical soapbox in this instance.  A Bushlings opinion only.]

To the woman who finds herself alone, I encourage you to reconnect with the girl you were, with the girls you were a girl with, and perhaps with new women that can share your girlhood with you.  Life is not meant to be lived alone and company and strength is not only found in a man.

To the woman in love, do not forsake the parts of yourself that will always be a mystery to him.  Continue to enjoy the company of your girlfriends.  Share together, shop together, cry together, and celebrate together.  Seek to learn from and understand each other.  They are your support system and you are theirs.  Be the support to them that you would want for your time of need.  You never know when that time might come.

Finally, to the Single Woman, I am sure I do not need to say this.  For many of you this is your only circle, your smallest most intimate ring, and your only support system.  Love your girlfriends and care for them.  They will bring you great joy, comfort and strength in your solitude.  They will be your family if you have none.

 You girls are the loves of her life, a guy is lucky to come in fourth.
~Mr. Big, Sex and the City

 Today celebrate the women in your life and share the power of your love with them.