This is an essay that is very near and dear to my heart. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did when I wrote it <3
I’m not ever this happy to see rain but as it comes barrelling through the dusty mountainous terrain, I can’t stop myself from smiling. Looking into Arturo’s eyes, I see the miracle. As the big drops of rain mix with the tears on our faces, I am taken back to a decade ago.
—If I stared long enough then squeezed my eyes, I could envision myself living the world through a new set of eyes. Perhaps, many would call it a knack for concentration or too great of a dependency on imagination, but I called it a superpower.
“Xixi!” my mother called out. My dazed eyes began focusing past the frozen raindrops to the glowing ZELLERS. Excitement was an understatement, because shopping was such a rare occurrence. Grabbing onto my mother’s hand, we walked through the parking lot.
“Excuse me, would you be able to spare some change,” a gentle yet desperate voice cut through the humdrum of the rain.
I looked back then blinked once. Twice. Nothing. I couldn’t see anything from the man’s eyes! The thin man had now stood up from his crouched position and held onto the parking column for support. My mother tugged on my raincoat gently, but I couldn’t move.
“There s’a McDonalds,” my father emphasized pointing diagonally in front of the man’s view as he rummaged for a couple loonies and toonies. The transaction was quick and soon the money was graciously accepted.
“Thank you sir, thank you,” the man looked at me briefly but I saw it: a beautiful shine in his eyes reflecting belief in another day. Closing my eyes, I felt Happiness bloom in both the stranger and I.
But it quickly dissipated into disappointment in the store when I saw the hundreds Hello Kitty umbrellas. I saw the no before it rolled off my father’s tongue.
“We can afford it just this once, it’s almost her birthday!” my mother sighed.
That day, I didn’t get what I had wanted, but I received something much better. Within the smell of rain and its weighty dampness is my first memory of love and the sweet aftertaste, a constant reminder of the everlasting impact compassion has. As the years go by, the importance of that rainy morning only grows stronger and has become an extension of who I am.
Now, I won’t be able to remember what the man looked like, but I will never forget the feelings that came in the fleeting moment when I caught his quavering yet strong eyes. It seemed as if our paths were meant to cross. The unusual encounter made me feel a normalcy that I could not comprehend, but my father catalyzed the start of my understanding through his actions. Even if he couldn’t set enough food on the table each night, he never hesitated to help those around him. By leaving fragments of hope, he taught me that in everything I do it is important to unlock potential in others.
While fulfilling my innate thirst through volunteering and expressing myself through the arts, I would have never known if it wasn’t for the rain’s constant reminders that it was actually a longing to become one with the words inscribed in people’s hearts. The rain opened my heart to a natural tendency of living through empathizing with others and allowed my superpower to collide with my passion for helping others—
We stand drenched in Arturo’s wilted fields as the rain pours over the building site. I see helplessness washing away from Arturo’s eyes, and in it’s place, a strong flickering hope that there will be a harvest next year. Making eye contact with this phenomenal man who has helped me build the El Trapichean school that will be the foundation of hope for the next generations, I say, “Perfecto,” and he can only laugh, “Perfecto,” as we look up into the sky together.