We sat in the darkness shooting the shit. It was a quirky night, with lightening in the night sky interrupting the deafening silence that falls in between the strikes and rolling thunder. We sat in the front patio, under the tin roof that played musical notes as the rain struck it. We sat there, each looking out into nothingness, in silence. It was the right moment, the right kind of silence. It felt right.
A crack of thunder quickly followed a flash of light. Leaving us all a little startled for a moment at how close and powerful the storm was. Sergio, the oldest of the group, jumped a little in his rocking chair. “That was close!” he gasped with a laugh that can only be described as Sergio’s laugh. So unique was his laugh, that you could be down the block and you would still hear him laughing, knowing that it could only be Sergio. The two gold teeth reflected a little with the flash of lightening. Yet, as soon as the light dissipated, his dark skin melded into the night.
“Strong light!” Rodger replied. The thick mix between his Spanish and Creole accent made it difficult to understand him at times. It made the conversations interesting, if not just confusing. I have to admit, there were times that I couldn’t understand a single word that was said, with the mix between the two.
I sat in silence, looking at the sky. I had drifted off into my own thoughts for a little while when a close crash of lightening snapped me out of it. The two were still talking, I was unsure of what. I finally caught on that they were talking baseball. Luckily, it’s the same in the three languages spoken by us. I was stuck in-between my thoughts and the conversation. I wasn’t sure what thoughts were to which part. I was fluxed.
Finally, I blurted out that I’d like to see the Braves win the world series in two years. I thought why not, they haven’t done anything big since the 90s. Back in the day when they had a solid bullpen and starting rotation. I remember being just a kid watching them play. Maddux, Smoltz, Glavin. They were unstoppable. They stopped to look at me. Apparently I had missed my mark. I later realized they were talking about coastal players that were going to make it to the big league. Yet, my brief interruption was ignored and they were able to continue talking about the players from Pearl Lagoon, Bluefields and Corn Island.
The night could be lost and confused with other nights. The topics of conversation would shift, blend and migrate from one to the next, at times to be picked up later. Sports, politics, education, women, and just about everything in-between would be spoken about. The most ancient form of entertainment, that I’m aware, of is what we practiced. Without light, how was to be connected and be entertained? This was the solution to that.
I drifted back into my own thoughts. I had grown bored of talking about baseball. I didn’t know the players being mentioned. I thought about home, my family and friends. I tried to imagine what they were doing. My parents were sleeping for sure. They were the only ones I could still feel connected to. The others, I couldn’t even imagine where they were, what they were doing.
It was my own doing. My own fault. I had been the one that ran away. I would only call it running because I’m no longer there. I haven’t been home for a while. Nothing dragged me away. I left. Leaving the comfort and uprooting my life. I had continually done this for years now. Every time I began to feel comfort, I would look for a new opportunity to become uncomfortable. I’ve enjoyed it. I don’t see it as something bad, but sometimes, I miss the comfort.
It would be nice to be with friends that have known me for years. That can recall at a moment’s notice a story that will bring to tears in seconds from laughter. The times when I was still young and foolish. Rash and brave. I miss those times. I was much more productive back then. Presently, I find myself acting as if I have much to lose. I cautiously think about my opportunities and deliberately make decisions. I can no longer act on a whim without calculating the risk that present themselves in the potential outcomes. I no longer live as I use to.
“Finny! You see that one, over there?” It was Sergio. He had noticed I had drifted off.
“Yeah, it was a big one!” my smile was lost in the darkness.
He let out a great sigh, “in the 80s, during the war, we had rain like this.” His sentence was complete with those words. He had accomplished twenty minutes of conversation in that one sentence. If this was the first night sitting out in the patio, I would have been eager to hear more; yet, tonight I was going to let him sit there and settle in his own thoughts. I imagined his head had become a reel of emotions that occurred during that time. I don’t think I need to explain more, war is war. It doesn’t matter where you are or what war it is. War will always be war.
“We had plenty rain back then. I wonder if it’s finally come back.” Rodger followed up. Everyone was left to drift to their own thoughts. Rodger wasn’t around for the war. He had gone south to Costa Rica. I don’t think he’s less of a man for that, and I don’t believe he thinks of himself as lesser. His war was very different. In some ways, it must have been harder. His connection to his country was through off-white paper and black ink. He read the news daily, searching through trying to find any mention of his home. The news was often bleak. He has expressed himself as being trapped during this time.
I began to drift, remembering that my home isn’t the same as I left it. Although now, it’s a digital paper I read, I often find myself lost in the news that is leaked from home. Trying to wrap my head about what is going on back home. I’m not sure I fully understand. I don’t think anyone back there fully understands it. Yet, it’s hard to be away.
The way it can be looked at is this rainy storm. You never know how long it’s going to last, how strong it will be. You just sit and try to find the enjoyment that results from it. The rain in the long run is good for the crop. The thunder and lightning can humble you by making you know that you’re powerless. Lastly, it allows you to sit and talk. It takes away all the distraction that life has created.