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The Spirit of a Lion

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Abuelita + The Mockingbird Broach

My final week in Belize flew by; neighbors, relatives, and friends brought me hugs and items of ‘good luck’ for my journey. My Abuelito came into the house on my last day and brought his lucky broach. It twinkled in the sun and was carved into his favorite animal, a mockingbird. He fastened it on the inside of my overcoat, gave me a kiss on the cheek, wished me all the happiness and success I deserved, then walked out of the little house. Then came my Abuelita. Her body looked more and more like the thin hay out in the field every day. She was about to hit eighty-five years of life next month, but her face looked double that with the years and years in the sun. She had wrinkles that were embedded deep into her skin and piercing eyes that allowed her not to speak. She shuffled her way up to me and held my hand as she slipped a cutout into it and embraced me in a long final hug. There was nothing else to say. I held a photo of the American flag as I tightly hugged my Abuelita. She had told me tales during my childhood of moving to the Unites States and the opportunities that lived there. She used to say “America is the small blind mouse, and you, Arion, are the strong cat, waiting to devour it whole.” It sounds weird, yes. But, it means a lot to me. A better future, education, a life I would not be able to achieve in my tiny village in Belize. As we broke our embrace, she looked deep into my soul and shuffled out of the tiny house for the final time.

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