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When Home Disappoints



We rustled through the green. Ducking under scarred branches from former winds, we laughed our way towards fresh streams. Quarry rock piles ushered us to a jungle trail. The way was narrow and questionable, beyond a “do not enter” sign with warnings of prosecution. But locals know better. Some signs are just signs, holding no weight beyond their print.


Without much planning, our feet lovingly skipped passed while questioning how many more pokes our cheap sandals could take. In the darkest of cases, our feet could carry us where material would not. They may pick up scars, which we would recieve as adornment. Before foreign soldiers stuffed them into issued shoes, scars are what made great-grandfathers’ skin strong enough to hunt free. Bare feet would trample mound and malice; making soles at least an inch thick to take on the thorns. Though our feet were tender, with ancestral callouses left behind like an unused muscle, the lightness of our youth swept us closer to the sound of water. We climbed mossy rock and stony stair as the fierceness of the sun softened with shade. Our colored skin sighed grateful for the condensing company towering above our thirsty heads.

Breathing in breathes of brown, we marveled at their height. Each member somehow connected to the opposing mountain. Intertwining vines hung low to kiss the back of our welcomed wrists. We were astonished at how most are no longer babes, but overgrown adults now bearing their own. We were not alone. This is home.


sitting by a waterfall


Our eyes feasted on one hundred depths of green. Light lime dusted leaves the size of car doors. Olive shades met glimmers of rich jade. Emerald rays casted a dance in clear trickles of fresh rain. The jungle engulfed our senses with a live softness highlighted with a possible danger. There was green as far as the spirit could feel, as if reflecting the imaginations of the hopeful.

The sound grew louder with each step. The air shifted from damp, old bark to a whisk of sweet pua. We awaited a most beautiful scene. In the mind’s eye, water fell over glistening rocks healthy with diamonds yet to be discovered. We anticipated thrashing water clean and fresh, strong with movement from this morning’s storm. The energy of the water’s crash fueled our bones to move faster towards the spring. One last turn until a paradise gem, kept safe amongst the browns, the greens, beyond prosecution. Our feet took on familiar courage hopping over unexpected shards. Our thin skin grew immune to pain by sheer exuberance. One more stride. Turn.


Finally, sound met sight with magnificent simplicity. Stretching meters high stood the fall my father once whispered of. Broad strokes of past and present hopes met in a deep gathering pool, the wishes of chiefs hovering over its surface. Hugged by jagged cliffs blanketed with dew, the stream ran its course amongst the stones. Mist bounced into the air, murmuring with excitement. The waterfall beckoned our glance higher to levels of abysmal wonder. Toes led heels slowly into the vastness of the mountain’s tears, lowering body and soul into the coolness of day. The crisp course clutched my senses, speaking common to the mind. I wondered why brother cried.

The glimmer wore off and I began to hear the sighs of those who stay. Like the sweat of a janitor after homecoming, or the joints of a mother after bearing, the cracks of an abused wall became apparent beyond the water’s rush. Ducking under his current, I seeped into darkness. Feeling the cold only depths could take, hearing the loud only silence could keep; his mountain’s fall collapsed my peace. Suspended in the dark, my ie slithered around a bruised ankle consoled by the blackness of chilled water. I kicked quickly, resurfacing my eyes, finding my nose, and then controlling my breath as to not awaken more sorrow. As the drops fell from my face, blurred vision focused on his pains. The one hundred fields of green hid aluminum silver and scarring neons—pockets of polyester, screaming pink bags with printed orange O’s. Dirtied socks draped his arms and forgotten fibers suffocated his neck. The sound of his song constantly interrupted by the crinkling of amnesiac wrappers.


A friend took to the serrated rocks while I floated, staring up into the space between the leaves. I felt his pain flavoring the blood beneath my skin like aged tea made alive in hot water. I understood: the sign, the path, the sorrow. Only a sense of belonging brought us to the trail. Only our youth married hope and folly. Only the honest see passed the glimmer. The fall’s polluted state showed our own, and I grieved.

We trudged passed the “do not enter” sign with soaked clothes to prove our knowledge. I winced at a sharp sting and rolled my sole skyward. My feet bled. I stared at the red that will soon scar, callousing my skin. Sometimes the youth must cringe for country to clean the water once bred.


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