It’s 2am and I can’t sleep. I keep replaying this over and over in my mind. It has haunted me the last two nights. It’s been a total reality check for me.
On Sunday I met a man who works for Sunrise Airlines. He’s in his late 20’s. A lot of people stare at our twins but this guy’s gaze was intense. After several minutes he asked me if they were twin girls? I smiled and told him no – two very rambunctious boys. He was quiet for a moment and then he asked me how old they were. I told him they just turned 2 in June. He smiled and said he has twin girls. They would be 3 in November.
I asked him if he has to chase his little girls around like we were chasing the boys that day – trying to get them to behave. He was quiet again. He reached in his back pocket and he pulled out 3 pictures. He had no wallet of any kind – just three pictures that were cut down to “pocket-size”. There sitting on the floor were two beautiful identical twin girls. They had white frilly dresses. They had to be pictures from a wedding or some special event. The next picture was of his wife holding those precious little girls and finally a picture of their 6-year-old daughter.
He told me that he was at work. His wife decided to go to the market to fix dinner. Their then 5-year-old decided to go with the mom. So she left the twins home with the babysitter. That day the earthquake happened. Their house was leveled. The twins and their babysitter – instantly gone.
I sank in my chair. I was immediately taken back. Totally caught off guard. I watched his eyes – watching my boys. In front of me I saw him drift to a moment where those noises coming from my children – were the noises of his.
No one really talks about the earthquake anymore – not really. The leveled buildings we pass in PAP now seem like the “new normal” or a tourist attraction. Somehow over the last year and a half we’ve become desensitized to one of the most tragic things that ever happened to Haiti. We’ve accepted it as a tragedy of the “past” — never really understanding that it’s still very real and “present” in their everyday life.
I picture all the times that Jose, I and the kids go out and about in the Mole – leaving the sitter home with the twins. Never once believing any harm could ever happen. They believed the same thing too. And in an instant – those little girls of his were gone.
Watching him on Sunday- I realized there isn’t a day that goes by – a moment that passes – where they don’t feel the effects of that terrible day.
I can’t help but think…….how many Parents – Children – Relatives – Friends – quietly pass by us – every single day – with an unspeakable loss in their back pocket.