I remember teh flames bursting across the sky, painting clouds with vibrant colors of love and life. The warmth seeping across the dirt of the ground, drawing the joy of brreath. And as I took it all in, for once I felt alive.
Around me, children run. Each dirty, stained face tells a story, that few can read. Their calm, brown eyes draw me in, as their calloused hands trace the lines of my own face. The touch of their fingers smear dirt and grime with the sweet sweat that permeates forth from every pore, but I dare not move and disturb the story being read.
The children crowd around and shout ‘lion!’, as their wide eyes gaze in wonder at the blond locks of hair that fall over my shoulders. Their laughter echoes across the stillness of the earth, as if time, for one moment, stopped.
Their clothes are tattered and torn, but they hold onto the rags as if they were a lifeline to a life that they cannot live. The stubble of a shaved head rubs and scratches against my arm, as the little ones draw closer, each one fighting for attention and the chance to be recognized.
I don’t remember her name, the little one sitting on my lap, her white teeth flashing a shay grimace as the ‘lion’s’ mane brushes against her shaved head as I try to look into her eyes. As she turns away, I catch the green spark of life that the others tell me was never there, but I know for sure I saw.
I cannot remember their names, but their faces are burned into my memory, something that could never be removed or replaced. Each streak of dirt, every tear stained face, every scar can be seen and felt with calloused fingers that engulf my thumb and never let go.
The faces sometimes blur together, each one bringing another specific feature to a portrait that never existed. The crooked smile of the kid with the red beanie and the missing teeth of ‘No-Pants’ merge inot one, as the soft, brown eyes of the small deaf girl come together with the large ears of the shy boy that always peaked his head around the corner in the morning sunlight as I sat there and wrote.
There are people that tell me that these people, these places never existed, but they havn’t seen the bright sadness that I experienced while in Uganda. They never had the oppertunities to see the black of night melt before the burning flames that rose above the clinic walls. They never had a piece of their heart ripped from their chest, always calling them back to where they belong.
God Bless and PEACE