Aruba, Merry Christmas, December 25, 2009
In the sparkling diamond crystals of the light blue water in the swimming pool, there swam a beautiful, little girl who decided she liked me. It’s funny isn’t it? Children can sense people who like them and are kind. I’ve always loved to be around kids, they are so naiive with their blunt honesty. She paddled to me, we made faces at each other; we smiled and laughed a lot. We tried to communicate but it was very difficult. My Spanish is very limited and it turns out she spoke a dialect from Santo Domingo. I needed my daughter’s translation help for that explanation!
Selianne swam under the water, her curly, rippling, long, brown hair flowing behind her. She had that wonderful laugh, like tinkling crystal bells, that innocent, sweet children have. We played a game, using mostly hand signals and a few Spanish words that delighted her. I had my sunglasses on top of my head, in the pool and she felt that it was a game in itself; she was greatly amused. One time she came upon me by surprise, swimming underwater like a fish, and lifted my glasses off my head. I think the way I squealed was as great of a joy as it was to actually take the sunglasses from me. It became our game.
Later, since I couldn’t understand her very much, I told her in pidgeon Spanish that I would try and get my “mija” my daughter to come and help us translate. Jillian, 15 and beautiful, walked over and I introduced them; Selianne was very excited being an 8 year old girl in the presence of a 15 year old, teenager!! Selianne was shy at first but then started swimming again like the cafe au lait little mermaid that she was. When my daughter Jillian and Selianne were trying to talk and communicate I smiled to myself. I remembered Jillian at that young age who had been very shy and scared of all strangers; now coaxing a little girl to play and laugh.
I crept up the baby stairs in the pool, still clutching the children’s staircase to help my, once again, aching foot. Time heals all, but sometimes we grown-ups are supposed to remember not to overdo a good thing after a long illness. Sometimes, I do not act like a grown up at all. We walked half a mile into town and BACK with my foot and heel acting up and my back in occasionally painful spasms. I loved walking to town, I loved feeling ALIVE after feeling so spent and achy and tired for so long. I needed and craved the experience. We ended up eating at the infamous Smokey Joe’s BBQ place, Danny and I sharing a combination meat platter and Jillian, our, vegetarian, eating macaroni and cheese.
I admit, walking back to the hotel was murder. I was too proud to admit it and take a taxi so I walked ever so slowly, limping and stopping to watch children play in the street. Bright green and blue iguana’s slithered across the sand and the bright touristy Christmas lights of Aruba, twinkling green, red, orange and blue Christmas lights wrapped around palm trees. The only thing I saw in front of us, walking back for a moment or two on the sand at night, were the twinkling brilliance of two hundred little stars against the deep, dark, black night.