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Sunday, 01 March 2015

Forgotten Stamps on my Passport - Page 4

Written by J. Jennifer Gadwah
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I was going down for a mere two days to work the Mexico Government Round-table, which my company was organizing.  I would meet the President of Mexico who was our speaker – it was one short year before the infamous H1N1 flu would grip poor Mexico and the President’s vigilant attention.  The night of his speech, I was again patriotic.  I sported my red short-sleeved suit jacket – my bright red color a symbolic shout-out to Mexico’s red flag, Mexico’s celebratory love of red hot peppers, and my own love for my red-logo publishing company.  That night, I was gifted with a patriotic kiss on the cheek from the President himself.  I would later joke to friends and family, not to mention my boyfriend at the time, that the President had crossed the aisle to kiss me.  My statement was a humorous nod to American politics, and the expression relating to political unity and cooperation.  In this case, the President did actually cross an aisle to kiss me.  

 

If past lives do exist, I thank them for bestowing me with numerous opportunities to connect with them in this life – even if I haven’t been able to definitely validate them.  I remember the Egyptian attaché in Guatemala City who insisted I drink something during our meeting.  He was keen on coffee or tea.  However, when I politely declined these caffeinated and possibly jitter-inducing beverages, he was just as keen on a little juice from a little juice box – plastic straw and all.  The Embassy of Egypt actually brought me a children’s juice box.  I sucked on a juice box while I sat in a room with old dusty paintings of ancient Egyptian pharaohs lining the walls, and the Egyptian attaché puffing on a big unpolitically-correct cigarette, as he asked my colleague and me if we preferred to speak in English, Spanish, or Arabic for our meeting. I don’t know if this was the closest I came to validating my past lives, but I always come back to this memory.  The handsome, green-eyed attaché was extraordinary in his eccentricities, his ability to permeate the room in various languages, cultures, and social mores – the cigarette smoke undoubtedly adding to the hazy and oddly cozy feeling.   Sometimes I think if I just squinted hard enough, I could’ve stared straight through those old dusty paintings on the walls and landed back on the Nile River in ancient Egypt – witnessing the attaché in a reed boat, his eyes just as green if not greener.  Maybe his eyes were a striking emerald back in ancient times, representing the newness of his soul.  Maybe his green eyes had softened over time, with every new life.  I imagine his coal-black eyelashes fanning out the sun, as the sail on his boat breezed him down the river in one beautiful lilting word – Aswan.  Both the word and city, beautiful in their easy, languid countenance, were at the southern foot of his country, at the border of a memory, ancient and breathtaking as both clear water and moistened brown sand.  Maybe that was his constellation – who he was, and who he is still is, in some way, today.

 

But who was I?  Maybe someday I will be given a confirmation – as sweetly simple, breathtaking, and life-affirming as a trip down an ancient river, in an ancient part of the world like Egypt, from where so many modern civilizations can trace their roots.  I think my river might be the Amazon or the Rio Grande.  The flower on my boat would be a cactus flower.  There would be a deep clay pot filled with green, prickly spears protecting a gorgeous red and pink flourish.  My eyes and hair color were surely a dark brown back in ancient times – dark as the cocoa bean carried in a sack down from the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Colombia.   My eyes and hair have since softened over time to that of a light cinnamon brown.  Most Americans would call me hazel-eyed and sandy-blonde.   

 

I know that I am all things cinnamon and nutmeg as I hail from British colonial Connecticut in this present-life.  When I look in the mirror, I see those things.  Surely Latin America sees something when she looks in the mirror, too.  I’d love to see and smell that.  When I pull my passport book out of my orange desk (a simple unfinished blonde oak desk, which I painted vibrant orange years ago), I would treasure each Latin American stamp – each country’s vibrant hue and fervent scent.  In my land of dreams, it would be possible for each country to be so uniquely alive.   No matter if it’s not possible in reality (a customs agent a far cry from an art director), I know the celebration of Latin America is in me – her past, present, and future.  I imagine her colorful flags are open arms that wave to me like the Angel of Independence.     

 

© J. Jennifer Gadwah                      

 

(Page 4 of 4)
Last modified on Sunday, 01 March 2015

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