Saturday, November 10, 2018

At Journey's End

She is consumed with fear that her young boy, still a month from his fifth birthday, might be suffering from dysentery. For five days, he had been in increasing discomfort, now screaming at times with the pain. There is no doctor here, no medical assistance. No answers. Except maybe one..

She must think only of him now. She is with her two other children, girls aged six and nine. Her husband is dead, gunned down last year in the cross fire of gun violence in the only town she had called home her entire life.

She was now more than six hundred miles from the terrible memory of finding his blood stained body less than 50 feet from where the family lived. She had spent the last three days carrying her little boy on her back, trying desperately to keep up with the rest, praying that tomorrow by some small miracle he would be cured, would be able to take his own steps forward.

She wept quietly, trying to shield her face from the prying eyes of those she protected. Her feet were blistered and swollen, the dried blood caked in the one remaining pair of shoes she owned. She had lost 15 pounds in the month since this all began. Her two girls also looked so thin, so terribly thin. They did not complain, but she knew how impossibly difficult this had been for them. They were all past the point of exhaustion to a territory even she could barely comprehend.

She reconstructed how she had gotten here. She thought of the family and friends she left behind uncertain if they might ever meet again, trying before this trek began to sear every memory of them into her brain. Holding onto her mother and father, her older brother, her niece's and nephews in one final aching embrace, having failed in her pleas to convince them to join her and her children in attempted escape.

Armed for this journey with virtually no possessions, almost no money, little reason to believe that this would end well, but with the immutable knowledge that this would end badly should she not try to gain freedom from the fear, the omnipresent sense of impending violence, the suffocating poverty, the hopelessness that she had carried with her every moment of every day. This was the only option.

She recalled the searing heat for days on end, relentless even for one who knew no other universe. The heavy weight of understanding that tomorrow and for many tomorrow's to come, there would be nothing but this endless march. The universal kindness of those along the way, who helped sustain their souls as much as they provided nourishment for their bodies. The incredible resilience of her young ones, following without question, surely comprehending little of why this was happening.

She wondered when they matured, what scars her children would carry with them. She knew nothing of the concept of post traumatic stress disorder, her education having ended far too early, the demands of life taking her far away from the classroom.

She had dreams of one day going back to school, of earning a degree, of becoming a teacher. And she pictured her children, each one so bright, having the opportunities that had eluded her. But right now she was consumed with the worry of the cost of this endless odyssey. The hope of tomorrow replaced by the pounding reality of today.

As she looked at her young boy, at the one she called her precious child, she fell to her knees.. She remained there, in silent prayer, for several minutes. She gave thanks to God for allowing her family to come this far, and told Him she believed, she had to believe, that all of this was happening for a good reason. 

She motioned to her children to come close to her and gathered them as one in her arms. "We have reached our destination. For us there is now only making your brother better, stronger. And when he is better, we will start again, on our own, in this place, our new home. I love you with all my heart and promise you we will make a good life here." 

Thus their journey ended.

And so, the caravan that menaced the border of the United States grew smaller by four invaders, their desperate attempt to overthrow our way of life thwarted.



Anonymous said...

should be published. fabulous.

PickleBiz said...

One of your best

Anonymous said...

So sad


Anonymous said...

Poignant and true. These are the people our government is responsible for traumatizing for their lifetimes.


Anonymous said...

Sad indeed.


Anonymous said...

One of your best. It should definitely be published!