I’m just gonna assume that’s a good enough title.
So tonight I decided to watch a movie on Netflix after a long day of painting schools. I decided to watch Malena which is an Italian film about a young boy who falls in love with a beautiful widow. Despite the fact that she never knows his feelings for her, the young boy continues to love Malena, protecting her from the village and caring for her. Finally at the end of the movie, the boy gets his one chance to say something to Malena. Knowing she will never understand what she meant to him or how much he loved her, Ronato simply tells her, “Good luck” as she walks away.
I lost it at the end of the film. I cried so hard my roommates were concerned. I was sobbing in my top bunk, trying to communicate that the movie I had just watched was romantic and sad but I really didn’t know why it meant so much to me. Christy, who knows everything, knew there was something deeper happening underneath my weeping over an Italian romantic movie. She took me outside and asked me what was really happening inside my heart. It took me a long time to understand what I was feeling but eventually I could express why Malena had made me cry.
This whole time in Guatemala I have been meeting new people, playing with children and working alongside the people who live in this beautiful country. These people have changed me. They have taught me so much. I have so much love for them. I am a different person because of them. I would do anything for them. And they will never know. To them. I’m just another American girl passing through.
Just like Ronato and his first love, I love these children so much. With all my heart. I know where they live, I know their favorite colors, I know how their parents treat them and I want to give them the unfailing, constant love they deserve. But they left school last week without truly understanding what they meant to me. I cried so hard.
Guatemala is happening to me. I can’t stop feeling an increasing love for the people and the country. I do my best to love and protect the people. I watch them from windows and doorsteps wondering if they know how important they are, as if I was in love with them. But when I leave in two months all I can say to them is “Good luck” They don’t even know how they have changed me.
I met a little boy this week who especially liked to stay cuddled next to me while I (kinda) worked, as if no one else would hold him. Another one wanted me to play soccer with him even though he didn’t have shoes. They helped me with my Spanish. They played tag with me and I beat them at arm-wrestling. And as much as I loved them, I could never love them enough to show them in one week at their school. Its not the language barrier that keeps me from communicating my love…there’s just no good way to show a bunch of kids who you don’t even know how much you love them.
So as I watched the little Ronato walk away from his first love who never knew how she changed him, I wept for the unspoken, misunderstood love I have for the people here. For all the kids who will never how much they changed me. For the little boys who deserve love and don’t get it…but the only way I can show them is by tickling them. For the girls who braid my hair and draw me pictures…and a “thank you” isn’t enough.
They have changed me. I have loved them. But they will never know.