Thursday, May 16, 2013
The Cross-eyed boy from Ranquitte
When I left Haiti, in the summer of 1986, after doing some missionary work in the mountains with eighteen other missionaries, in a small village called Ranquitte, I sat on the back of a small truck, with the other missionaries, and the cross-eyed boy who had befriended me during my stay, ran after the truck, waving his little hands and fingers as I sat there looking at him the truck accelerating, the small face of the boy began to move farther and farther away, clashed with the road and foliage and dust, drawing him from my sight, enclosed in the powdered-earth of the road, leaving upon me a sense of finality, irrevocable; yet he was wearing that expression, questioning, yet unalarmed: willing, serene and weighty. He was no more than eight years old I believe. Now it’s been twenty-six years since I’ve been back to Haiti, I plan on returning soon, thus he comes back to mind. I remember he did not want me to leave; almost like a doglike devotion. Yes, the boy is now a man. And I am an old man, where at that time I was perhaps closer to his age now, and more fit—so I haven’t got no time to waste, I tell myself, if indeed I plan on going back: Plaster Naason, a dear friend, has been asking for twenty-of those twenty-six years: “When you coming back? He says, and I tell him, “I’m trying,” but here I am, still not in Haiti. His words are getting louder and louder in my head though, and every time he asks, my heart is uplifted.