Such a sweet breeze breathes in and out through my mosquito net in the quiet night. A few distant crickets are singing under the stars. A love much bigger than ours is in the air. Thousands of stars twinkle across the sky and I wonder where she is sleeping.
Her smile infected my whole body as she reach her arms up to me. With no reservations or fear of rejection, she was longed to be held. With no hesitations I scooped her up and hugged her tight. She didn’t let go. Her legs clamped tight around my waist. I look at her skinny legs and notice a 3 inch scar on her left knee. My heart breaks. Tears filled my eyes and a smile I couldn’t hide. This was pure raw love. My heart expanded as I pulled her tighter to me. She was wearing a black dress with white embroidery. Dusty and dirty I straightened her dress out, she looked up at me with her beautiful brown eyes and pulled my shirt up too. It had been pulled down from her belt of legs around me. I held her tighter.
I looked her in the eyes and said “Ou bel”, (you’re beautiful). She smiled and shyly responded “Mesí” and then rested her head in my neck. A soccer ball went flying by and white dust from the kicked up dry land was everywhere. I look around and beautiful eager smiles were given like little gifts. How do they keep smiling in such conditions. No mother or father, my heart breaks.
Fighting back my tears I kissed her on her soft cheek. “Ou bel”. I whispered again.
I noticed her little white teeth , unstained by American soft drinks. She never stopped smiling.
“Ela. Ela.” she says in her soft voice and points to a weathered pink wall with flowers and a rainbow painted on it. I walked closer and she touched the flower, looked at me and said ” Felizze”.
“Felizzzze…” Her accent was like a beautiful instrument I had never heard before.
” Rouggggge” she touched the first band on the rainbow,
“Velaaaa,” and continued to list all the colors. Wow! A precious young child is teaching me something new. We walked along the inner painted walls, she pointed and said many words. Trying to remember them all, I longed to show her so much more. These colorful painted walls brought joy to her. A butterfly, a dragonfly. She had no idea that I could paint her a whole garden full of birds, flowers, and animals for her to enjoy. I wanted to.
As she finished giving me a tour, I set her back down in the shade-arms reach back up at me. I picked her back up. Her legs fastened to me like a seat belt. She wasn’t going to let go. I kissed her warm cheek again. It was what I’ve been searching for, to feel love and give love with no reservations or expectations. Gods love poured on top of us like sweet syrup from heaven. I didn’t want to let go either.
Boys continued running around us kicking a soccer ball and occasionally throwing it into an old hoop that had lost its net a long time ago. She knew nothing about me, and I wondered-where she sleeps? What happened to her parents? Does she remember them? What does she eat? Who takes care of her? Does she have a teacher? So many unanswered questions. I held her tight. In that moment I was complete, nowhere else I’d rather be but giving this beautiful smiling girl a piece of my heart.