I finally spoke to my stepmother yesterday. She still has no power, no running water, no cell phone service unless she drives to a town twenty minutes away from where she lives, and she is now alone. Like many other young people who don’t want to lose a term or a school year, her granddaughter moved to the States.
Six weeks later…and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands are still reeling from being smacked head-on by a massive hurricane. If you have ever lived on an island, you know how it is when something happens and you’re far from hubs of “civilization”. If you have ever lived on a small island, you know how the distance between the two farthest points can seem greater when things are bad. If Puerto Rico got royally screwed by this storm, the Virgin Islands (which are quite small in comparison to the 9104 km sq that makes up PR) must be in really, really, really, REALLY bad shape.
We are still waiting for packages we mailed in early October to be delivered. For all intents and purposes, the packages are in the post office, but they remain there because when someone goes to claim them they “can’t be located”. This doesn’t make sense to my organization-oriented brain, but there must be a kernel truth or I am having my leg royally pulled (and manipulated) by people who need the help, but want it taken to them… Sigh…
Did I tell you the story about J and the waitress? I don’t know if I did, but I will do a quick recap for you now:
A few weeks ago we tried a new place for lunch. It was J, Dada and myself, and there were two other tables with customers. This is a very informal place with quick lunches for busy people. Our order was taken by one waitress, and another was serving nearby, but every time she walked past she would glance at J and smile. Very pretty girl; young, sweet-looking, very kind demeanor. At some point we noticed she had become our server, and even the owner came out to say hello. J, of course, was focused on his food, and in his little internal universe. He was smiling, though, and he was happily enjoying his meal.
We asked for the check, and the young lady brought it…she bent her knees a little to take a peek at J’s face. She said: he has beautiful eyes. I turned around and said to J “she likes your eyes”, and she then said (with a HUGE smile on her face) “it’s everything…his eyes, his eyebrows, his face…EVERYTHING!” J just kept smiling as he looked down at the table.
We thanked her…we were tickled pink. If she did it for the tip, good for her…she got a nice one. If she meant it, well, even better…J IS beautiful and he deserves to be noticed by pretty girls, even if he can’t do anything about it…
There are bad things happening out there: shootings, violence of all sorts, hunger, strife…and then you find a nice little thing. And it makes you smile, and you say “yes, that was lovely…thank you!”
Maybe those packages will materialize today. Maybe things will get better back on the island. Maybe J will look up at a girl who smiles at him one of these days, and maybe he will understand that someone has smiled because of him…or just to make him happy.
Even when it’s not all good, it’s good…