January 8th, 2005

House by the river

The ends of the earth.

Our bus is too long to make it the long and winding road to Santa Maria. We have lunch here, in Ocotal (that may be on your maps, if you look) and we will continue in an hour, on a short bus and three ambulances. The flowers are lovely and the sun is warm; too warm for my bare shoulders.

I am starting to feel the absence of my Angel now, as a hole beside me, a space too cool in the warmth of the embracing air, an emptiness when I close my eyes at night. I am beginning to know the loneliness that always comes stealing up on me.
But it is still subsumed, overwhelmed by the wonder and mystery of this place, of the struggles to understand a language I feel instinctively that I should comprehend. They are only human beings; we speak a primal mother tongue. Some things, the outstretched palms of ragamuffin boys, the elderly woman holding out a prescription - for multivitamins, of all things - and begging for us to give her what she needs, the dogs that are skeletons beneath ratty fur, nosing through the gutters for morsels. Some things are universal.

One of them, O Best Beloved, is suffering. Another is truth.
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