Tuesday, June 24, 2008
The young boy pulls his hat down lower, self conscious of his newly bandaged face, of the deep scars visible under the brim of his cap. He is spending the day with a family he doesn't know, and he is nervous and shy. The customs, the people, the language in this country are all strange to him. He runs through the park, following the other kids, but not entirely sure why he is there. Eventually, he is encouraged by their laughter, a universal language, and he joins in their antics, climbing the trees and running through the winding paths created by the shrubbery.
Later, at the strange family's house, he sits quietly off to the side, watching the kids play games that are foreign to him. The lady speaks a few words of Kreyol to him, trying her best to remember the native language of one of her own sons. He nods his head quietly, acknowledging her with a soft "Wi." She points to a rack of bikes in the driveway, and the boy shows some interest, but hesitates, shy again. She holds the bike, and he climbs on. He stumbles, catching himself, rights the bike and tries again. She holds the back of the bike and guides him a ways down the street. Slowly, surely, the boy gains his balance, and wobbles along on his own for a few feet. A few more tries, and he is riding on his own... a freedom he has never known before.
Finally, she sees what she has been waiting for. As he rides down the street, even the hat pulled down low on his face can't hide it. His smile begins slowly with just a hint at his lips. By the time he is riding past her, it has blossomed into a wide grin. For only a moment, the fears, the strangeness, even the new scars from his recent surgery are forgotten. He is a little boy, who has just learned to ride his first bike.