Hello and good day!
Rain and wind roared upon the leaves of jungle trees. Fast moving clouds blocked and then revealed bright white light shining from the moon and stars.
A husband and his pregnant wife walked down a muddy path in the downpour with their young son between them, each holding his hand from either side. Their rubber boots squished in the mud, their plastic ponchos dripped, and the wind blew hard in their faces as they battled forward, towards the house of the husband’s mother. They turned down a rocky driveway that ran through thick forest filled with cacao and fruit trees.
A dog sleeping next to the driveway rose when he heard the footsteps of visitors. She stood and sniffed and barked once, but when she recognized the scent, she curled down, leaning her back on the trunk of a banana tree, and drifted back to sleep.
The husband knocked loudly on his mother’s heavy wooden door. “Mama! Mama!” Rain pattered on the thin aluminum roof. Again, the husband pounded on the door. “Mama! Mama!” Now the door opened, and the man’s mother stuck her head out from inside the dark adobe house.
“Is it time?” “Yes, mama, we think it is. I will take her to the hospital early tomorrow, God willing. I only hope the roads will be passable.”“They will be son, God willing.”
The mother and father kneeled to look their boy in the face. His mother spoke first. “You are going to stay with abuela tonight, like we told you. Will you be ok?” “Yes, mama. I am a brave boy.”
The parents hugged their son. The father rustled his boy’s hair.“Be brave like your papa my son. We’ll be back soon.” “I will, papa.”
The parents hiked back along the rocky driveway to the road. The boy walked into the dark adobe house. Abuela flicked on a yellow light bulb hanging from the ceiling and the boy sat in a wooden chair facing a round wooden table.
“I have food for us. Bread and cheese and hot chocolate. And we can listen to the radio.” “Thank you abuela.” Abuela served the food and the two ate while listening to old love songs on the radio.
The rain never stopped coming down on the metal roof and wind blew through the leaves in the forest and against the outside of the house. “Has it always been like this abuela?” “Always my son.”
After eating, abuela took her grandson into the sleeping room. She flicked off the kitchen light and flicked on a yellow lightbulb in the bedroom. It was a small room with plastered white walls and a small picture of the local saint hanging in a frame. The floor was unpaved dust. There were four small beds in a row against the back wall.
“Your father grew up in this house. This is his bed.” “This one?” The boy touched the bed frame second from the side wall. “Yes, that one. I slept in the first bed with your grandfather before he passed. Your father was the oldest and he slept next to us in this very room until he moved out to marry your mother.
Would you like to sleep in his bed tonight?” “Yes abuela.” The boy undressed and climbed onto the old hay mattress. Even with the hard rain and the wind, the room was hot, and the bed was covered by nothing more than a thin sheet. Abuela walked to the wall to turn off the light.
“Abuela?” “Yes, my son?” “I’m afraid of the dark.” I can’t leave the light on. We’ll never be able to sleep. I will light a candle.” Abuela felt her way in the dark to a simple wooden bed stand that was between her bed and the bed where her grandson was laying. She pulled a matchstick from a box and struck it against a small rough rock on the table. The flame spouted and abuela lit a candle.
“Is that ok?” “Yes abuela. Abuela?” “Yes, my son?” “I still feel afraid. Can you talk to me while I try to fall asleep?” “Yes, my son. Would you like to know about your father when he was a boy of your age?” “Please abuela.”
“When we first came to the jungle, there weren’t any people here. Only trees and wild animals. We had just one son, your father, when we came. We came with a group of brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and cousins, all the family members you know who are older than you. Me and your abuelo and your father settled here on this land. We built this house and farmed and had more children.”
“Was my father brave when he was a boy?” “Of all the children who made the trip, he was the bravest, although to make the trip all the children had to be very brave.”
“Was he strong?” “He’s always been very strong and a very hard worker. I remember when we were building our houses, other families came to ask if your father could help them, and he always did. He made us very proud.”
Now there was silence in the room and abuela heard her grandson breathing heavily and rhythmically. She lifted the candle and began to walk towards the kitchen. She wanted to straighten up a bit before laying down to sleep.
As she walked through the door, her grandson spoke again. “Abuela? Did you leave?” “Yes, my son. I left to clean the kitchen. I will be right back.” “Abuela? Can you sleep in bed with me tonight? I don’t want to be alone
.” Abuela walked back to the bed where her oldest son had always slept. She set the candle back on the small bedstand, laid behind her grandson, and put her arm underneath his head.
“Was my father afraid of the dark?” “For a long time, yes he was.” “But you said he was brave.” “To be brave doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid sometimes. If I lay here with you my son, may I blow out the candle so that I can sleep now?” “If you promise to stay with me abuela, that is fine.”
Abuela turned her head to blow out the candle. She wrapped her other arm around the boy and pulled him in tight, just like she did with her grown son when he was little and afraid of the dark. Rain and wind battered the small house while the two slept soundly.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!