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Saying Goodbye to Diana

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I lay on a cold floor in a Honduran orphanage, drifting in and out of sleep. Above me, the American movie, Hoot, is shone from a projector onto the wall. Kids are crowded around me; many are sprawled out on top of each other as they stare at the movie. The scent of popcorn fills the air, and just as my mind begins to wander into sleep the lights turn on. I grimace and squeeze my eyes shut. I open them when I feel a prickling sensation along my neck. Inches from my face, Diana peers down at me. When she sees me gasp in surprise, she laughs, and dimples appear. She tells me that the movie is over, and as I stand up she hands me a note and leaves. The letter is a goodbye note; tomorrow is our last day here. It reads, “I will miss you very much, you are a crazy friend. I love you, and I hope you come back soon. God bless you,” and in English it says, “good friends.” As I fold the paper, I realize that she must have said goodbye many times in her life. Her life is filled with goodbyes.

Before we load the bus, I walk to Estrellas de Belen to find Diana. As I enter the crowded hogar, eleven-year old girls immediately surround me. They tug at my sleeves and pretend to stick chucharas on my arms. I ignore their pleas for play, searching for Diana. “Dónde está Diana?” I ask. One girl turns and runs out of the hogar. Seconds later, Diana appears, her eyes staring at the cement floor. I slip her my goodbye letter and we embrace. There is nothing for us to say.



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