Sunday, January 5, 2020

The Meaning of Yellow Flowers

Yellow flowers and rain gutter near Campbell and Fort Lowell. Tucson, Arizona. May 2019.

Yesterday, as I lay on my airbed reading a young-adult science fiction novel, I was warm; the surface supporting my body, soft. If I had to go to the bathroom, the toilet and sink were literally around the corner of my bedroom. Hungry? Get up and walk a few steps to my refrigerator or pantry, in clean socks, on a clean floor.

In a parallel universe, in Mexico City, was a young guy who'd slept on the street last night. It dropped into the 30s. In the past 18 months, he'd survived:
  • Journey in one of the caravans from Honduras to Mexico City
  • Journey into the US, where he was detained in an "icebox" for some time
  • Illness and despair when he returned to Mexico City
  • Year, in all, in Mexico City, with food and shelter insecurities
  • Isolation from family and friends back home, and the friends and short-term security he'd held while at Casa de los Amigos
  • Faltering hope

Such long-term hardship - beginning before he embarked on a self-rescue mission, when he joined that caravan from Central America - has pushed his spirit into a crevasse, and this weekend, maybe he is on a bus to Chiapas, Mexico, headed back in the direction of Honduras.  Honduras. Whose nickname from the Reagan era was: USS Honduras

He told me: "I don't want to keep suffering."

Here's the thing. There will be suffering in Honduras, too. But maybe it will be closer to family and old friends, so perhaps a more familiar suffering, with people who love him?

I say this with a question mark because I really don't have a clue. I can have an intellectual grasp of his life in this moment, but not the gut understanding of one who has also lived through a war. Because a war, it is, for the usual things: power and greed, both in-country and from out-of-country, and where men, women, and children, individuals like my cheeky, charming young guy are just collateral damage.

Oh, right. The yellow flowers.

In the U.S., yellow flowers bespeak happiness and joy. In Central America, death and funerals.

No comments: